Resident voices leisure concerns

Sixmile Leisure Centre.
Sixmile Leisure Centre.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has moved to clarify proposed price changes at leisure centres after concerns were raised.

The local authority is currently conducting a consultation process (closes July 21) for residents to have their say.

A resident contacted the Times to voice concerns at the proposals, which could see some prices increase by 50 per cent.

Commenting on pricing and staffing issues at Sixmile Leisure Centre in Ballyclare, the resident, who wished to remain anonymous said: “A family swim ticket is set to rise from £8 up to £12. The leisure centre doesn’t have the staff to switch on the slide, mushroom or the lazy river, so they remain switched off. This is ridiculous when they’re introducing a 50 per cent price increase for swimming.

“The centre has been understaffed for well over six months, with no prospect of anything getting any better.”

The current price for a family swim is £8/£7 (discount for Activity Card Holders), with the proposed new price listed as £12 on the council’s consultation page.

Commenting on the leisure strategy, a council spokesperson said: “Council is consulting on its leisure strategy which includes new pricing for facilities and activities - great value membership packages and revised pay as you go prices. The consultation includes a series of sessions across council facilities, as well as through the website.

“Council will be reviewing the feedback at the end of July before final approval of the strategy and pricing. Feedback to date has indicated that for a significant number of respondents, pricing is a barrier and with the new prices, council is offering wider access, better value and more activities for its residents.”

They added: “The new proposed prices will come into effect in October 2017 and a marketing and promotion campaign will be underway in September.

“Investment in the slides at the Sixmile and Valley will result in both being operational and a recruitment drive is underway to fill vacancies in Sixmile.”