Edinburgh Council today agreed to an SNP/Lib Dem motion to proceed with a full refurbishment of the Royal Commonwealth Pool and to call for a further assessment of the options for Meadowbank.
While the Council Chief Executive’s extremely flawed report (see our response) recommended that “some land [at Meadowbank] will need to be released for disposal to allow the Royal Commonwealth Pool [upgrade] project to proceed”, the SNP/ Lib Dem motion at least implies a commitment to attempt to find a solution that does not involve any sell-off.
The most significant advance from today’s meeting was that the interests of Scotland’s world-leading cycling community have been placed firmly back on the agenda. Councillors were recommended by officials to vote to allow the sale of some land at Meadowbank, but were not informed that officials intended to sacrifice the velodrome.
David Hoy, father of Olympic medalist Chris, highlighted the country’s cycling successes and warned the council they would be jeopardising Scotland’s chances of medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games if they decided to remove the Meadowbank velodrome.
“Forty years ago the Council made a courageous and forward looking decision to build the velodrome. Since then we have produced three generations of riders. Edinburgh is renowned for the quality of riders we produce at Meadowbank. If you take away our track we will lose some if not all of these new talents.
“It takes eight years of dedicated training to produce a world level athlete. We need to support those already riding at Meadowbank or we will not have medal winners in our home Games. Give us the facilities and we will give you the athletes.”
Well done to everyone who bombarded councillors with emails etc, and visited them in person.
Craigentinny/ Duddingston’s Lib Dem Cllr Gary Peacock deserves a special mention: he had the courage to stand up for his constituents by speaking and voting against his own party’s position, pointing out, “It is simply unacceptable to the people of East Edinburgh that land at Meadowbank needs to be sold to pay for the Royal Commonwealth Pool… Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.”
Peacock voted first for a Green Party amendment which clearly noted that the RCP upgrade should not be funded by the sale of land at Meadowbank. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to show your appreciation.
There seems a greater appreciation among the Council that the RCP upgrade for the Commonwealth Games merits greater Scottish Government funding.
Indeed, Alyson Cameron of Trinity Community Council highlighted the official 2014 Commonwealth Games bid document which promised 100 per cent Scottish Executive funding for the RCP, noting, “It is ridiculous therefore the Council is sitting here today to consider the sale of a major part of Meadowbank to fund a project which the Scottish Government is already committed to fund.”
We need to keep the pressure up. Click this link to get involved.