Stillorgan’s ‘ageing population’ could scupper pool plans

Council hesitates on spending €10m in order to reopen Glenalbyn swimming pool

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council last year “ringfenced” the money to redevelop or rebuild the former Glenalbyn swimming pool.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council last year “ringfenced” the money to redevelop or rebuild the former Glenalbyn swimming pool.

 

The ageing status of the population of Stillorgan in south Dublin may scupper plans to spend €10 million on a public swimming pool.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council last year “ringfenced” the money to redevelop or rebuild the former Glenalbyn swimming pool, but said on Monday that a new “business case” report has warned of potential pitfalls in rushing into the development.

Glenalbyn pool was closed in December 2013 after a health and safety report identified significant structural defects in the pool’s roof.

Director of services with the council, Richard Shakespeare, told Monday’s council meeting he had set aside €10 million to refurbish, repair or redevelop the pool. But he said he was obliged to tell councillors there could be difficulties ahead with the plan.

Business case

He said a business case warned almost half of the population of Stillorgan was more than 40 years of age.

By 2036, he said, 78 per cent of the population would be more than 40 years of age. The demographics were “not great” he added.

Mr Shakespeare said issues had also been raised in terms of road access and the effect of reopening Glenalbyn on the council’s other public facilities. He said the economic advice was that there was potential for the reopened pool to require an ongoing subsidy.

Mr Shakespeare said the councillors might consider setting up a working group to consider all the issues involved, and may bring in representatives of all stakeholders.

In answer to councillors’ questions Mr Shakespeare said phase two of a new sports and leisure facility at Ballyogan would incorporate a swimming pool at a cost of about €18 million.

Commitment made

However, Cllr Melissa Halpin said she feared the authority was rowing back on a commitment made “before the last local elections”. “I really feel this is the end of Glenalbyn,” she said.

Cllr Deirdre Donnelly said there were many clubs and schools based in Stillorgan, including Kilmacud Crokes GAA club, which attracted people “from Blackrock to Dundrum” and which she said were not reflected in the Stillorgan demographics.

Cllr Catherine Martin said there were a number of options and she proposed moving directly to spend the money and reopen the pool.

Cllr Richard Humphreys said there was “no question” of pulling back from the commitment to reopen the pool.

He said the council had “unanimously agreed” the money last year and the best way forward was to set up a committee and consider the issues.

On a vote, the council agreed to set up a committee comprising Stillorgan area councillors to progress the opening of the pool.