Supporters of the Moray Hydrotherapy Pool in Forres have hit out at councillors who are willing to hand out over £250,000 to a leisure centre in Elgin just weeks after refusing to support their bid for annual funding of just £20,000.
The decision this week to fund a new Ice Plant for the skating rink in Elgin was welcomed by supporters who recognised the value of supporting a facility that is widely used throughout the local community.
However, those behind the Hydrotherapy Pool say they simply cannot understand why their facility could not receive support providing as it does a vital health service to people in Moray.
A bid for continued support for the pool was rejected on the casting vote of the chair of the children and young people’s services committee, Councillor Anne Skene, who insists that there should be no comparison between the two issues.
She said: “These are two separate issues – the hydrotherapy pool is a private enterprise that the council kindly decided to support if it made a loss during its first three years in operation.
“Moray Leisure Centre and its ice rink are arm’s length organisations the council opted to back financially from 1993 until at least 2018.”
The Hydrotherapy Pool was opened in June 2011 after ten years of campaigning and fundraising led by Arthritis sufferer May Taylor. Prior to the opening of the Forres facility patients had to travel on a regular basis for their treatment to Dingwall.
Moray firm Springfield Properties built the pool free of charge while £260,000 to fit it out was collected through local fundraising efforts. A public meeting was held last month to look at ways the pool could fill the shortfall left by the Council’s refusal to continue their support.
Chair of the board of trustees at the pool, Chris Combe, said: “We have no problem with the ice rink receiving money – but we get a bit upset when we hear about that amount of cash going there when we could not even get £20,000 from the council.”