DG ONE REPAIRS DISPUTE
Council leader rejects‘ bulldoze it’ call
The final bill for the ill-fated DG One leisure centre could hit £50 million, it was claimed yesterday.
Tory councillor Ian Carruthers believes the authority should now demolish the “white elephant” due to escalating costs.
He spoke out after a behind closed doors meeting on Tuesday when councillors were given an update on the repairs plan for the troubled swimming pool complex.
Mr Carruthers said: “The figures we’ve now been given are significant and, in my view, the price of this building is now moving closer to £50 million and that is a step too far.
“Now is the time to draw a line under it and raze the building to the ground. That would be the right thing to do.”
But the council leader, Elaine Murray, dismissed his cost claims.
She said: “Around £27 million has already been spent on remediation and the building is now at the stage where the faults are revealed and can be corrected.
“The Tories want to throw away all the public money already spent along with whatever the demolition costs would be – and the possible clawback of funding provided by sportscotland and others.
“We’re in an extremely regrettable position and we’ll end up with one
leisure centre for the price of two, but I’d rather have that than have a £27 million car park.
“The final cost won’t be anything like £50 million.”
Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell also waded into the row saying it would be better to bulldoze the building and start again.
Mr Mundell insisted that the decision made at Tuesday’s council meeting to “plough on” with repairs showed the administration had “lost the plot”.
He said: “The current site should be bulldozed before it falls down and the whole project should start again on a different site.
“Not only would that likely end up being cheaper but it would draw a line under this whole sorry saga.”
The original bill for the centre, built by Keir Northern, was £17 million.
Some £10 million was set aside for repairs to be carried out by McLaughlin and Harvey last September with Dr Murray admitting in July that another £8 million could be needed.
Tuesday’s briefing was heard in private despite a plea that members of the public should be “allowed to know what’s going on”.
North West Dumfries councillor Graham Bell asked for a vote to be taken on the talks being heard in public but lost 23-18.
He said afterwards: “Members of the public are fed up of these behind closed doors meetings.
“They should be aware of what’s going on but instead we’re gagged once again.”
And Stewartry Tory councillor David James added: “This is such a high profile fiasco that the public have a right to know what’s going on.
“The cost is continually escalating and by the time DG One is finished, we’ll have a building that’s the best part of 30 years old and that cost three times more than it’s worth.”
Council leader Elaine Murray
Scrap it Councillor Ian Carruthers