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Community / Concerns at community council over closure of Clickimin at Christmas

The swimming pool at Clickimin Leisure Complex. If Shetland Recreational Trust was snared by the overhauled business rates scheme, it could lose out to the tune of £750,000 a year.
The Clickimin Leisure Centre, in Lerwick, was closed from 23 December to 4 January 2020.

THERE were some grumbles at the latest meeting of Lerwick Community Council over the closure of the Clickimin Leisure Complex during the festive period.

The centre shut its doors on Monday 23 December and reopened again on Saturday (4 January).

Lerwick Community Council chairman Jim Anderson said there were a “number of folk disappointed” by the closure.

With the Unst Leisure Centre and the Scalloway pool opening for three days on the 27, 28, 29 December to give people a chance to burn off their Christmas indulges, Anderson suggested there was “no parity of service”.

He quipped that it was a rare occasion where people in the town were frustrated about services being available outside Lerwick – with it usually being the other way around.

Like the Clickimin, Shetland’s other leisure centres and pools in Yell, Brae, Whalsay, Sandwick and Aith were closed completely over Christmas and New Year.

Lerwick Community Council member Gary Robinson said he was a former employee at the Clickimin and he explained that the centre was scarcely used when it was previously open during the festive period.

“Nine out of ten times there was more staff than customers in the building,” Robinson said.

He added that it was his belief that Unst and Scalloway were open briefly during the period to provide at least some level of service, with membership cards able to be used across the isles.

Anderson, however, said “there was an expectation that the new gym would have been open”.

His views on the matter were echoed by Arwed Wenger and Karen Fraser, with the latter saying that she had heard an “awful lot of comments” about the festive closure.

She suggested it was a topic that is “really worth looking at” – especially as the centre promotes people’s wellbeing.

General manager of Shetland Recreational Trust, which operates the leisure centres, James Johnston said: “The Christmas and New Year period has always been a challenge for the Trust economically. Demand for use of our facilities is very low at this time and given our limited operational resources for staff deployment we have to strike a balance.

“That is why Clickimin Leisure Complex is closed and the Unst and Scalloway centres open for three days between Christmas and New Year.”