MONDAY night, for the first time, I decided not to vote at a hastily-arranged council meeting.
This meeting was to sanction the spending of an extra £1.5 million of council taxpayers’ money to start the work on the new smaller swimming pool to replace the current Aquarena.
In any decision-making process, I feel that you should either vote for, or against, and not abstain.
So, why was it different this time? Well, we are lucky to have an excellent senior finance officer in whose judgement I trust.
This officer said. “There is a significant risk in progressing at this time, as the key Aquarena site has yet to be marketed. It is your finance officer’s view that the main contract should not be signed until such time as the disposal of the Aquarena site is further progressed. Clearly, this risk needs to be balanced against the issue of increasing cost if the signing of the contract is delayed.”
In simple terms, this officer is saying that there is a serious financial risk if we give the go-ahead to the smaller pool right now, without knowing how much we will get from the sale of the old site.
Our task as councillors is to make decisions that have a positive impact for taxpayers.
An enormous amount of work has gone into this proposed development and we have to question why a similar effort hasn’t gone into saving the theatres instead, given the real threat to close them. As a seaside town, we need to offer a wide range of leisure facilities, not only for the swimmers, but for all residents and visitors.
Please note, I really want a new pool to replace the outdated one. We’ve certainly waited long enough, but we must have regard for the finances!
Robin Rogers, councillor
Worthing Borough Council