Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Deputation at Full Council meeting

Campaign update on the mounting debate over controversial City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) plans to close Leith Waterworld on 8 January 2012.

Splashback!, the dynamic residents’ campaign to save the Capital's only leisure pool,  welcome the announcement by Edinburgh’s Green Party Councillors that they will support the campaign’s efforts to stave off the planned closure.

Green Councillors confirmed that they back Splashback’s fight to keep Leith Waterworld open at least until the Royal Commonwealth Pool (RCP) re-opens at the end of March 2012, and hopefully beyond. Alison Johnstone, Green Party Culture and Leisure spokesperson on the Council, will table a motion to that effect at the Council’s Full Meeting on Thursday 22 December. (For full agenda see here)  The Full Meeting will see a Splashback! deputation present residents’ concerns – and the broad public support for the campaign – in the form of a petition.

The Greens’ support for Splashback! comes as it emerges that an Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) for the closure of the leisure pool, which is popular with young families and the disabled, has not been done. In order to meet its obligations under the Equalities Act 2010, the CEC obliges Edinburgh Leisure to carry out an EqIA before changing or withdrawing services, to assess implications of its decisions on the whole community.

However, Edinburgh Leisure has confirmed to Splashback! that an EqIA on the closure has not been completed. “We have not had a satisfactory response from Councillors to the question of whether an EqIA has been done,” said Splashback! campaigners.

Alison Johnstone said: “It would be ironic if part of the legacy of Scotland’s 2014 Commonwealth Games was the closure of a unique and well-used facility, enjoyed by people across Lothians.”

A Splashback! statement from last week reads: “We welcome the support of Green Party Councillors and their move to put this issue before the Full Council Meeting next week. We hope Councillors from other parties will agree to stand by their promise, made in February 2007, to keep Leith Waterworld open at least until the RCP opens to the public, now likely to be end March 2012.

“In addition, we hope Councillors will recognise that a full and robust EqIA must be completed as a matter of urgency; and that its results should inform any further decisions about the future of Leith Waterworld,”

The Splashback! campaign is upping the ante in its fight to keep the popular leisure pool open.

With just 18 days left before Leith Waterworld is due to shut its doors for good, it has gathered a massive 5,000-plus petition signatures against the closure online and in person.

Splashback! campaign held a public meeting on Tuesday 20 December at Leith Academy, 7.30pm to 9pm. The meeting offered an opportunity to hear a campaign progress update and a chance to examine all the facts and implications of the pool’s proposed closure.

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