A MUCH-NEEDED sports facility in Queensferry is once again back up and running.
The Queensferry Recreation Centre, situated at Dundas Park, which closed its doors in April 2011 is now under the management of Queensferry Rugby Football Club.
The former Edinburgh Leisure-run facility was forced to close due to financial cutbacks but the ultimate aim was to find a local community group to take over the day-to-day management of the centre and its all-weather pitches.
This has now happened with the local rugby club taking over management of the centre as a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteer members.
The rugby club has big plans to turn the facility around by creating a small gymnasium, a cafe and a members’ bar in the near future.
Queensferry Rugby Club president Allan Carson said: “The local community was outraged when the centre was closed but it is now open again. We are looking to the community to help support us in any way they can, either through using the facilities or helping to keep it in good order.”
Mr Carson added they have already submitted plans to the city council to reconfigure the facility by turning two former dressing rooms into a gym area. Once operational, the club will open the gym to the public for membership.
They are also in negotiations with a brewery regarding the prospect of creating a members’ bar as the club has already been granted a licence to sell alcohol at the facility.
With the steel security shutters having been removed from the premises, Mr Carson was keen to let the community know that bookings for the all-weather pitches are being taken at the centre, from 6pm to 10pm, Monday to Friday, and all day at weekends. And with hourly pitch rental costs being set at a very competitive £20, he hopes the reduced cost will attract local teams to return to the centre.
The club president said he was looking to the younger generation to support and care for the facility, which has been a target of vandalism in the past.
He said: “We intend to initially leave the gates open for the youngsters to play if the pitches are not let but ask for a donation of £1 per person for the privilege.
‘‘By leaving the gates open, we hope to prevent further damage to the fencing. If this initiative works and youngsters respond to our call, we will look to leave the pitches open.”
Mr Carson added: “It has taken almost two years to get to this stage and we would like to thank all the people who have donated time, professional expertise, and equipment to help make this happen. Special thanks also to EJ:JN Architects and WMA Consulting Engineers.“