Girvan residents kept paying memberships to help Quay Zone despite long Covid closure


More than 70 Girvan residents did their bit for the Quay Zone leisure center by continuing to pay membership fees despite the facility being forced to close because of Covid.

Their generosity, along with furlough and business support, helped avoid financial losses during a year once again dominated by the pandemic.

South Ayrshire Council’s partnerships panel heard that the Quay Zone had only been able to open for eight weeks since last April.

While they managed to keep to a balanced budget, some of the actions they had to take will have a knock-on effect – particularly dealing with the consequences of reducing maintenance on a building which will enter its fifth year of operation in April.

South Ayrshire Council’s sport and leisure coordinator Ali Mutch told the panel that exposure to the severe weather and reduction in maintenance would require increased spending in coming years.

South Carrick Community Leisure, which operates the centre, receives £200,000 from the council.

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Mr Mutch said: “Performance was significantly impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions, with the Quay Zone only able to open for eight weeks throughout the full year. The team is keen to highlight the community support towards the Quay Zone.

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“Over 70 members actually decided to continue to pay their membership subscriptions throughout the time the facility was closed. This provided additional support financially to the facility.

“The impact was balanced by the furlough scheme and business related grants.”

He added that reduced and deferred expenditure, such as lower pool temperatures, energy usage and less maintenance balance their budget.

Despite being able to open in August last year, there was no immediate return to normality, with restrictions in place and ‘customer confidence slow to recover’. Missing out on summer trading had also had a negative impact, Mr Mutch added.

He said: “It is anticipated that there would be additional building and equipment expenditure due to delayed maintenance and aging equipment.

“The team have highlighted the difficulties with ongoing maintenance of equipment as things begin to gradually deteriorate. There is quite a significant investment required to bring things back up to standard.”

Conservative councillor Ian Davis asked when some of the major pieces of equipment would be required to be replaced, with the high up-front costs that entails.

Mr Mutch responded: “One area we did talk about is the pool plant and filtration systems. There is around a seven to 10-year cycle. Costs will be in the next review and they face some significant costs just for the pool plant machinery itself.” .”

He added that there was also work required on the exterior of the building, in part due to the exposure to the elements.

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Labor councilor Ian Cavana praised the members who had continued to pay their subscriptions with no return.

“Not many of us would do that!,” he said, before asking whether any specific damage had occurred due to recent severe weather. Mr Mutch added that there was nothing ‘significant’.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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