A forward-thinking proposal to provide Alderney with a community sports hall with two swimming pools has been welcomed by the Island’s government.
The provision of Community Sports Facilities has been a need for some years and the Alderney Community and Sports Centre Charitable Trust engaged with Islanders to achieve this objective.
Sadly, completion of the planned indoor heated swimming pool has been on hold for five years as a result of concerns around the longer-term structural integrity of the facility as a swimming pool. However, the incomplete pool building would be repurposed for school and/or community use, thus leveraging the investment and hard work to date.
Over the last year, the Alderney Sports Foundation (ASF) has carried out a feasibility study as to the best option to take forward to meet the sporting and active leisure needs of our young people, the school and the community.
The ASF team was led by Simon Brazier and consisted of Mark Mackenzie, Duncan Goodhew, Brian Tyrell, Jeremy Frith, Steve Sharman and Martin Winward.
ASF concluded the current provision of sports facilities in Alderney for young people is wholly inadequate and every child should have access to a swimming pool and indoor sports facilities as a basic public good. A new sports hall and swimming pools should be community assets with use shared between the school and the community to provide significant social, health, educational and economic benefits, they said.
The ASF proposal is for a co-located sports complex in the lower portion of the school grounds with access from the Braye Common side for the community as well as from the upper side adjacent to the school entrance.
If approved, the facility will consist of a 25m outdoor swimming pool, a small 8m indoor heated training pool and a sports hall. The existing pool building would be repurposed for educational and community use and would form part of the proposed project as having significant value for the Community.
The ASF has estimated that the facilities will cost in the order of £5m to construct with a variety of funding options to be explored. Running costs would be covered by income generated by the facilities.
The next steps are for the States of Alderney to appoint a specialist project manager to take the Alderney Sports Foundation’s recommendation from the current concept level through to a detailed investment proposal for the States of Alderney, liaising with States of Guernsey committees as needed, to determine funding requirements and sourcing.
The Guernsey Sports Commission (GSC) has already played an important role in providing advice to the ASF feasibility study through the participation of Jeremy Frith and Steve Sharman. The GSC has significant experience in the design and construction of sports facilities and initial discussions have already taken place as to how the GSC can continue to support this important project.
“The Charitable Trust’s Kerry Wedd and Barrie Pimm-Smith and many others are to be thanked for their hard work and perseverance over many years in seeking to provide Alderney with an indoor pool,” said P&F Chairman Bill Abel. “But now we have a new proposal from the ASF which includes the possible repurposing of the pool building as part of the project.
“It’s likely that it would take two to three years to complete the facilities, although it may be possible to advance some parts of the project over a shorter timeframe.”