THIS week the city council overwhelmingly decided to support community group Splashback over the next 11 months in developing a business case for Leith Waterworld to reopen as a community pool.
Waterworld shut in January 2012, with only the Greens opposing closure at the time. Even on the morning of Thursday’s council meeting it seemed that most councillors remained sceptical about reopening it.
The report before the council was not positive.So what changed and what now? Huge credit needs to go to the volunteers from Splashback for their tenacity in insisting a community leisure pool was viable and for the eloquent and perfectly-pitched plea to full council on Thursday.
Credit too to the coalition parties for being prepared to listen and to echo the compelling social, economic and health case for a revitalised facility. The realisation that selling the site would raise nothing like the £1.5 million originally anticipated probably helped focus minds too. The hard work really goes up a gear now, though. Turning the Splashback business plan into reality will take new business activities, robust operating arrangements and an enormous amount of fundraising.
Re-energised marketing will also be needed before our capital city can again enjoy what towns from Stanraer to Lerwick and Oban to Elgin take for granted: a leisure pool. But if one thing has been shown this week it is what a fantastic asset we have in our community activists. I look forward to making a big splash with my own daughter and son and to supporting many more such ventures in the future.
• Chas Booth is Green councillor for Leith