Doubt over Mitchelstown Leisure Centre opening
The long awaited opening of the Mitchelstown Leisure Centre, which had been on track until now, has this week been held up, due to a delay in the payment of a grant.
While the delay is not ideal, the Leisure Centre committee are currently working hard at the moment, to resolve the issue.
This was revealed to The Avondhu this week by the chairman of the centre, Ben Lynch, who said that the issue and its timing is a 'massive disappointment'.
He said that there is a doubt over the opening of the centre because of the delay in the payment of a Rural Development Programme (RDP) grant.
“We've been waiting waiting months for the RDP grant funds to be released and just when the money is needed and now that the building has been completed, we’ve been informed of a further delay. As a result, the builders are unwilling to allow us gain access to the complex,” he said.
This Friday, August 8, the Mitchelstown Leisure Centre is due to host its first event, the GR8km race for the Galtee Runners and the centre committee and chairman Ben Lynch see no reason for this event not to go ahead as scheduled.
He added that the leisure centre that Mitchelstown will end up with, is better than anything they had hoped for and will be top of the range, but when it was built, it was an empty building, without so much as a desk, a phone or single piece of equipment.
“We’ve been extremely busy getting staff on board, organising everything from computer software to treadmills and from training manuals to basketball hoops.
“Most of the equipment will not be delivered until September, but we expect to have the sports hall, the multi-use activities room and the all-weather pitches available almost immediately, with the gym equipped within a month or so,” Ben added.
A comprehensive price plan has gone to the printers this week providing a range of options for membership and pay-as-you-go users.
“The entire complex will be accessible to everyone, whether as full or off-peak membership, with rates discounted for specific hours and users. It is our wish that everybody in the community will find a reason to come through the doors of the Leisure Centre in the coming weeks and months,” Ben added.
In relation to the grant payment delay and the issues that the committee are working on to resolve, the following statement was issued by the Leisure Centre to The Avondhu, as the newspaper went to press on Wednesday:
“We, Mitchelstown Community Centre Ltd, were offered and we accepted grant aid of €500,000 towards the community facilities element of the development at the Canon’s Field in July 2013.
“The funds were awarded under the Rural Development Programme, operated by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.
“We first made a claim for payment in December 2013 and despite our best efforts, none of the funds have been released to date. We and our advisers are making every effort to have the funds released as soon as possible.
“Upon release of the funds from the grant, we will discharge all obligations to the builders and will have sufficient funds available to pay for all of the equipment needed for the ultra-modern facility.
“Meanwhile, we share the disappointment of everybody in the community at the delay in opening the new Leisure Centre. We have no further comment at this time.”
Friday 8th August 8:43am