£60m cen­tre will be a big legacy, not a white ele­phant

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

A £60 MIL­LION aquat­ics cen­tre set to be built in Sandwell for the Com­mon­wealth Games ‘will not be a white ele­phant’, an MP in­sisted.

Dame Caro­line Spel­man said: “I had re­spon­si­bil­ity as En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary for the sus­tain­abil­ity of the Olympic Games in 2012, and one of the im­por­tant ques­tions you have to be able to an­swer when it comes to the sus­tain­abil­ity of a sport­ing event is will those fa­cil­i­ties be sus­tain­able in the fu­ture.

“Sus­tain­abil­ity is a three­p­ronged con­cept. It’s eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial.”

She be­lieved the new cen­tre would have a last­ing ben­e­fit for the com­mu­nity.

“You won’t get a white ele­phant,” she said. “You will get a great legacy in Sandwell.”

In Jan­uary, Sandwell Coun­cil leader Steve Eling an­nounced plans for Sandwell to build the aquat­ics cen­tre to host swim­ming and div­ing at the Birm­ing­ham 2022 Games.

The 5,000-seater venue will in­clude an Olympic-sized com­pe­ti­tion pool, a 25m div­ing pool, two ac­tiv­ity stu­dios, a 12-court sports hall, a 125-sta­tion gym, a 25-sta­tion women-only gym, an in­door cy­cling stu­dio, a sauna/steam room and a cafe.

It will be turned into a leisure cen­tre af­ter the Games for the peo­ple of Sandwell, with a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on­go­ing about which fa­cil­i­ties will be pro­vided.

The £60 mil­lion cost has raised some eye­brows since its an­nounce­ment, with some com­ment­ing that it risked be­com­ing a ‘white ele­phant’ post-Games.

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