In advance of this evening’s Board meeting, Vice Chairman Mrs Beth Cannan has issued the following statement on behalf of the Board.
The Board of Castletown Town Commissioners wish to place on record their dismay at the proposed closure of the Southern Swimming Pool. This is yet another body blow to our town and the wider Southern Community, and we wholeheartedly concur with the comments from Mr. Speaker that the residents of the South have been betrayed by this administration.
It is well-documented that swimming pools serve as spaces for children to acquire swimming skills and water safety, where families strengthen their connections through water-related activities, clubs foster friendships, and individuals of all ages enhance both their physical and mental well-being.
We urge the Island’s MHKs to contemplate how they would respond if a similar proposal affected a regional pool within their constituencies. It is essential to ensure that this myopic proposal does not garner support.
Minister Edge’s proposal would appear to contradict three of the five values outlined in the “Island Plan,” specifically “Building Great Communities,” “Health & Wellbeing,” and “Learning & Development.” This decision should serve as a stark realisation that the current administration lacks the strategic vision needed to ensure fair access to community facilities across the Island, let alone implement its wider Island plan.
If a key community facility such as the Southern Swimming Pool can be extinguished at the stroke of a pen on purely financial considerations rather than true consideration of value to residents, then we are deeply concerned about what may follow. Castletown has the highest proportion of low-income households in rented public sector properties on the Island, and the closure of a facility that is available to lower-income users without the need to incur additional travel costs is a particularly crass move and contradictory to the Net Zero action plan statement that Government will be “Managing Change in a way that is fair and beneficial to the health and wellbeing of our community”.
The Board has accepted an invitation to meet with other local political representatives later in the week. We can confirm that a request has been received to hold a public meeting, and consideration shall be given to the same once the political meeting has taken place so that we are better informed.
In the interim, we would wholeheartedly encourage local residents to make direct representations to local MHKs, Minister Edge, and the Chief Minister or alternatively offer support through the petition proposed by the Southern Pool which can be found at the following link.