Work gets un­der way on new track

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - DAVID OWENS david.owens@waleson­

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

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