Work gets under way on new track
WORK is well under way on a new £3m athletics track in Aberdare after the old sports centre was demolished in the “biggest, most complex demolition challenge the council has ever face”.
Rhondda Cynon Taf council has now fully knocked down the old Michael Sobell Sports Centre in Aberdare, which will make way for the new facility.
The new athletics track will complete the council’s investment in the site, which has already seen the new Aberdare Community School, leisure centre, 3G pitch and skate park delivered – as part of a £67m investment.
The final phases of the wider development were delayed due to a significant presence of asbestos at the old sports centre. The building, which will make way for the athletics track, was dismantled in a brick by brick process.
The complex asbestos removal and demolition scheme cost £17m. The council worked alongside the Health and Safety Executive and the asbestos was removed and disposed of safely and without any problems.
Now, work is well underway on providing state-of-the-art athletics facilities at the Ynys. They will support track and field events, while a new 172-seat spectator stand and changing rooms will be built.
Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Leisure, said: “The local community will I’m sure welcome the news that the complex demolition of the old sports centre in Aberdare has now been completed by the council.
“When the demolition process started, the council’s contractor discovered the presence of asbestos, which led to the biggest, most complex demolition challenge the council has ever faced. It required a painstaking, brick by brick process to ensure safety, which was the biggest priority for the council.
“The process was completed safely with no disruption to the ‘live’ Ynys site, which has been kept open throughout the demolition. The new school, leisure centre, 3G pitch, sports fields and car park have not suffered disruption.
“Having started, the council was committed to seeing this process through to the end, and we are now in a position where construction of the athletics facility is progressing well as part of the wider £67m investment – which will leave a legacy for the future generations of Aberdare and the Cynon Valley.
“Education and Leisure provision are key areas in the £200m #RCTinvest programme, from which the Cynon Valley has significantly benefited. Primary education has been transformed in Abercynon, Cwmbach and Ynysboeth with new community primary schools.
“Meanwhile, significant investment in Abercynon Sports Centre, as well as new 3G sports pitches built in Mountain Ash, and planned for Abercynon, provide allweather sports opportunities.” DECEMBER saw the publication of the Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan.
The bold and ambitious document links economic development with boosting skills, promoting wellbeing and safeguarding the environment.
The plan aims to simplify how businesses can access support and finance, and also contains a commitment to breaking down the barriers so small firms can access public sector contracts.
These are worth nearly £6bn a year. The plan promotes a regional approach for the economy, and also recognizes the importance of our foundational economy, which is made up of areas like food, tourism and care. This is something I have been championing along with other Labour AMs. Improving our transport and ICT infrastructures are also critical.
I held a Winter Advice Surgery in Mountain Ash Day Centre earlier this month. It was good to be able to welcome representatives from the Welsh Government’s NEST scheme, Age Connects Morgannwg, British Gas and RCT Citizen’s Advice Bureau, all of whom made themselves available to Cynon Valley residents to provide advice on keeping warm and safe this winter.
As 2017 draws to a close, it is natural to reflect on the highs and lows of the year. An example of the latter is the stark rise in the number of people needing to use foodbanks in what is after all one of the richest countries in the world. Along with volunteers from the Merthyr Cynon Foodbank, I collected donations from shoppers in Aberdare. The generosity of Cynon Valley residents to help those in need was incredibly moving, and reminds us all what a great community we live in.
Happy New Year to all readers.
Rhondda Cynon Taf council has now fully demolished the old Michael Sobell Sports Centre in Aberdare, which will make way for a £3m athletics track