Proposals for a new £17m leisure centre in Coleraine could be getting closer to becoming reality as Councillors are set to discuss an outline business case (OBC) update on redevelopment this evening.
If the OBC is approved, planning applications and design could begin next spring with construction completed by March 2025.
Stage 1: Outline Business Case Approved – March 2022;
Stage 2: Full Business Case (design/planning/procure) Approved March 2023;
Stage 3: Construction Completed (24 mths) – March 2025; and
Stage 4: Leisure Centre ‘Ready for Use’ - April 2025.
The report mentions that 'a comprehensive investigation of the existing site at Railway Road and 6 alternative sites (Northbrook Industrial Estate, Rugby Avenue, Beresford Avenue, Anderson Park, Ballycairn Road and University of Ulster) established that there were no suitable alternative sites available in Coleraine which are capable of accommodating the proposed development.'
Speaking to Causeway Coast Community Councillor William McCandless said; "This has been rumbling along in the background since 2016 when an outline business case ( OBC ) commenced testing a case for council to develop a new Leisure Centre to replace the ageing building in Coleraine and also to provide an alternative to Waterworld which had reached the end of its life after 30 years.
"Not surprisingly the OBC analysis demonstrated that there was a very definite need for provision for the Triangle population of Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart and environs (pop 60K ). The tourist increase from Easter until the end of August also increases that number.
"Debates concerning Coleraine Leisure Centre have featured in the Chamber for many years without any firm decision being agreed upon. However, the procrastination and postponements will have to be dealt with soon and I would appeal to the councillors who meet this evening to make a positive decision to proceed with a new leisure facility in Coleraine.
"The Coleraine swimming pool which opened in 1969 and the leisure facilities from early 80’s are in serious need of replacement with only a few years of economic life remaining. The Triangle residents and visitors to the area are having to use a 40 + year facility which is long past its best. The current building is dated and in need of major investment.
Concluding he said "There is a demonstrable need for a new facility and repairs and maintenance costs to the current building will continue to rise.
"The sensible option would be to agree on a new development at Railway Road.
The residents of the Triangle and the surrounding area deserve better."