Saturday, 23 February 2008

"Sports closures could affect Games benefit"

From the Press & Journal


Date : 23.02.08

Concerns have been raised that plans to close sports facilities in Aberdeen will impact on the benefit the Olympic and Commonwealth Games will have on the north-east.

Labour MSP Richard Baker has called on the SNP Government to take urgent action because the measures proposed by the city council could put off teams establishing training camps in the area.

He is also very concerned that the "shock and despair" already felt by people in the city over the measures to save £27million will not inspire young people to consider taking part in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The Liberal Democrat/SNP-led council has agreed to cut funding for sports facilities and other services to save cash.

Bon Accord Baths is to close while the Lynx Ice Arena will be shut for a year, and many other leisure centres and pools in the city will be forced to reduce services.

Mr Baker, a north-east MSP, is raising his concerns with Sport and Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell because First Minister Alex Salmond has stated that the entire country will benefit from the two major events.

The council has previously stated it would be very keen to host training camps in the city.

Mr Baker said he had been inundated with correspondence from "furious" members of the public, stunned by the council's decision.

Opening times and staffing will be reduced to varying degrees at pools in Dyce, Bridge of Don, Hazlehead, Kincorth and Linksfield, and at the Sheddocksley and Jesmond sports centres.

Friday, 8 February 2008

From the Evening Times: Travellers face move from site on Games land

TRAVELLERS are to be moved off a site in Glasgow's East End to make way for the Commonwealth Games.

Families in Dalmarnock Road face being relocated after the city landed the 2014 event.
Ten families of showpeople live on the site, which is council-owned, but there is also uncertainty for scores more showpeople who work for fun fairs and live on other sites around the East End.
Nine of the area's other 20 travellers' sites are council-owned, with the rest in private hands. In total the East End is home to 175 travelling families.

The showpeople are having talks with Glasgow City Council about when and where they will be required to move.

Philip Paris, chairman of the Scottish branch of the Showmen's Guild, said residents were frustrated about the time it was taking to agree a solution.

His mother, who is 82, has never lived in a house and is a resident of the Dalmarnock Road site.
Mr Paris said: "The council has identified a couple of potential alternative sites, but it will not tell anyone where they are.

"We do not want to stand in the way of progress, but it is a little annoying nothing more definite is coming forward."

The travellers are also worried discussions have been going on so long that the council could issue a Compulsory Purchase Order on the land, leaving them homeless.

Most of the residents live on the Dalmarnock Road site all year round and travel to fairs in the summer. Their children go to local schools.

An athletes village is to be built in Dalmarnock, which will provide accommodation for 7000 athletes during the three weeks of the Games. After the event the accommodation will be sold to housing associations.

A spokesman for the council's Clyde Gateway project, which is spearheading the area's regeneration, confirmed it was discussing alternative sites for the families.

But he refused to reveal their location because it was a "commercially sensitive issue".
He said a Compulsory Purchase Order would be used only as a last resort.

8:35am Thursday 7th February 2008

By Sarah Swain