Sunday, January 04, 2009

Not waving, just drowning

Ray Hassall has clearly been enjoying his Christmas break rather too much. He's been doodling on the back of envelopes and so Birmingham's new Olympic pool will not just include the 50m competition pond and diving pit. Oh no, that's nowhere near enough for our Ray.


Now, the plan (don't forget that this will come in cheaper than the original £60 million ticket price) will include a rail station (nobody has got Network Rail to agree to this, yet) and a range of fun rides for the paying masses, rides so scary that 'only teenagers would dare to use.'


So this complex will now have at least three pools, as a competitive pool isn't exactly compatible with the demands of the leisured masses. For one thing, there's a distinct lack of a shallow end or a teaching pond in the average FINA specification, which demands a minimum 2m depth, quite aside from the fact that most serious swimmers prefer a water temperature somewhat colder than the average leisure pool user. Plus, the pool will be closed regularly at weekends to allow for swimming galas.

And don't get the idea that this will actually be a moneyspinner to fill in the enormous black hole of the financing of this whole farrago. Sefton Borough Council operates a massive - and pretty spectacular - water leisure park called Splashworld in Southport.

That turned an operating loss of £250k last financial year.

Leave those envelopes out for the recycling collection, Ray. The business plan will never add up.

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