Campaigners against pool closure claim they are being 'silenced'

Kirsty Fraser revealed her deputation request was formally declined by Aberdeen's Lord Provost.

Campaigners against Bucksburn swimming pool closure claim they are being ‘silenced’ STV News

Campaigners rallying against the closure of Bucksburn Swimming Pool have claimed they are being “silenced” after a plea to speak at an upcoming council meeting was refused.

The special meeting of Aberdeen City Council will be held on Monday for councillors to discuss the closure of six libraries along with the beloved pool.

Kirsty Fraser revealed her deputation request was formally declined by Aberdeen Lord Provost, councillor David Cameron.

He told her that it didn’t comply with standing orders as it didn’t refer to an item on the agenda.

“There isn’t a report under that item so he’s catching us on a technicality,” she said.

Kirsty and her fellow campaigners are planning to head along to the meeting, and hope they will be granted a last minute attempt to save the pool.

The Lord Provost could either admit the group’s plea or suspend standing orders which would allow them to speak.

“By doing neither, he’s basically silenced us. The public voice is not allowed to be heard.”

She admitted that pulling together information for the meeting has been a “monumental task”.

She explained: “It’s been very complex, we’ve had to do the research and gather evidence.

“It’s been a lot and we’ve had to do it all while working and looking after our families.”

The council previously claimed that £450,000 for essential works to the plant room for the pool was “unfeasible”

But in two weeks, the group have managed to secure a £50,000 donation towards the pool from the Wood Foundation.

Kirsty explained: “They are just the first people we have spoken to, there is so much effort that can be done into fundraising for this.

She also believes that more could be done to make the building more sustainable to save on costs.

Campaigners say a plea to suspend standing orders is their “only hope”.

But if they can’t make a deputation, the group is planning to go public with the details they have gathered.

“It’s important information, the public should know exactly how these things are dealt with and how the council is spending taxpayer money.

“I don’t know if they think that by shutting this down and not allowing our voice to be heard in this meeting, that we’ll simply just go away and be quiet.

“That’s very wishful thinking because that’s not what’s going to happen.”

She added: “For them to make this decision without any kind of consultation process with the public is bad enough.

“But giving us such short notice to pull this all together – but against all odds we’ve done that.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride.”

Campaigners want to see the pool’s equipment to stay where it is and not be distributed elsewhere – and the facility to remain open for the next year.

They argued that savings could be found elsewhere.

“They are spending all this money on Spectra, Nuart and other things on Union Street, that’s all very nice for the community but it’s such a short-term benefit.

“For them to say nothing can be moved about is unbelievable.

“Our pool impacts the most vulnerable people in society, over 100 children with additional support needs use the pool.

“Swimming is the only physical exercise they can get and many of them are extremely good at it.

“They enter competitions – it’s a major part of their life, their health and wellbeing.”

Kirsty admitted the community effort to keep the facility open was “heartwarming” and she suggested they keep up the fight.

“More than ever we need to come together and unite as a community and stand up for what’s right and hold people accountable to their civic duties.

“If we sit back and not hold them accountable and not say anything, its not going to stop here.

“It’s so irresponsible and short sighted of them, and the potential ripple effect on all of Aberdeen is worrying.”

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