A £ 31million fund has been agreed by advisers to save Manchester Aquatic Center from closure.
The facility – one of the busiest of its kind in the UK – will now undergo extensive repairs and renovations after decades of heavy use requiring urgent work.
According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the center, known as MAC, is considered by many to be one of the major legacy outcomes of Manchester which hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2002.
More than 10 million people – around 500,000 a year – have used it since it opened on Oxford Road in 2000.
The center is home to the Team GB Paralympic Swimming Team and has hosted many top UK and international swimming competitions in recent years.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, MAC, south of the city center, was generating £ 4million a year for Manchester’s economy, while also meeting the equivalent demands of six community swimming pools.
But after decades of heavy use, parts of the building, which meet the equivalent requirements of six community swimming pools, are in urgent need of replacement.
The city council executive had been warned before meeting on January 20 that the MAC and Manchester’s worldwide sporting reputation “would wither and die” if they did not intervene.
Councilor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Skills, said: “Delaying a decision to invest will only cost the city more for years to come.
“Ongoing maintenance costs would skyrocket. Vital facilities for the people of Manchester and revenue for the city would be lost as building failures, mechanical and electrical breakdowns increasingly lead to unplanned shutdowns.”
The executive unanimously approved proposals to improve MAC’s heating and electrical systems, as well as elevators, spa, movable floors, pool treatment, and pool lighting.
Carbon reduction technologies will be used to replace worn parts of the building where possible to reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 40% and contribute to Manchester’s ambition to become zero carbon by 2038 .
Liberal Democrat Opposition Leader John Leech said the “most expensive option” was the only long-term solution to solving MAC’s problems.
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The meeting learned that GLL, which operates the building on behalf of Manchester Council, is responsible for day-to-day repairs, while larger repairs are handled by the Council.
Neil Fairlamb, recreation manager at the council, told the executive that the building’s failures were due to heavy use over time and there was no evidence of negligence.
Most of the repairs – around £ 29.1million – would be financed by debt, which would have ripple effects on future council budgets through 2022/23, while the rest would come from cash from the sale of land or buildings.