Local councillors have approved a €200,000 loan facility to help the Watershed leisure facility in Kilkenny replace a vital filter system for its swimming pool.
It’s emerged the current system, which was due to be replaced after ten years, is now 12 years old and ‘on its last legs’. At a meeting last week, the council’s head of finance Martin Prendiville told councillors that a grant of €1.4 million is in the works, but match funding of €800,000 is required.
With present uncertainty over the council’s financial position due to the impact of Covid, it cannot commit to this: “At the minute, we do not have that,” Mr Prendiville said.
Watershed management spoke to the Department to see if the grant can be delivered in phases, but the Department has said it must be all the one.
Among other things, the grant was to be used to replace the filter system. Mr Prendiville said the council had been asked if it could provide a loan facility of €200,000 so that it can order and acquire the new filter system in the meantime. The consequences of not doing so, he said, would be significant.
“If this system breaks down, the pool has to be closed,” he said.
The pool accounts for more than half of the Watershed’s revenue, and to close it would be a devastating blow to its finances as well as users. As with other leisure centres around Ireland, the pool was closed for several months during the initial Covid lockdown.
The filter will take several weeks to order and arrive from the US, and then install.