AT last night’s meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council, Live Life Aberdeenshire, LLA, announced their intention to improve Stonehaven’s sport and leisure facilities.
Members heard from service manager Tim Stephen who said Aberdeenshire Council were, ”looking to invest a significant capital sum into improving or replacing facilities,” in Stonehaven.
And as funding will come from what is known as participatory budgeting, a collaberative process is on the cards – LLA want Stonehaven residents to have their say on their aspirations for the town.
Mr Stephen said: ”It is a really exciting opportunity to work with stakeholders in Stonehaven.”
Community Councillors ask for a wide review
David Lawman asked that the examination of facilities should include a review of all the town’s facilities, not just those managed by LLA – to avoid making decisions in isolation. And Ian Hunt asked that LLA consider a long-term plan for dialogue with the community.
Jim Stephen got straight to one of the items on his wish list. He said he wanted to see the refurbishment of the leisure centre changing rooms.
Chairman welcomes news
LLA head of service Avril Nicol was also taking part in the Skype meeting. She said one of the first aims would be an audit of Stonehaven’s current amenities.
She added: ”There is some funding for some sports and leisure improvment and development. But the town should have a long term plan for its aspirations over a 10 to 20 year period.
To which chairman Bill Watson said: ”That is music to everyone’s ears.”
Participation opens the door to funding
After the meeting, an LLA spokesperson said the collaborative approach is designed to maximise the resources available to meet the future needs and demands of the local community.
He said The funding allocated to the participatory budgeting process is in addition to recent, and soon to be delivered, LLA investment at the town’s leisure centre and Open Air Swimming Pool.
Live Life Aberdeenshire is overseen by Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee.
Chair of the Communities Committee, Anne Stirling, said: “Participatory Budgeting can offer communities a real say in how money is spent for the benefit of their local area and I’m pleased we’re able to offer this opportunity in Stonehaven.
“In due course local communities will be asked for their views on what sport, leisure and community facilities in the area should look like in future and we are very keen to get as many people’s views as possible throughout this process.
Committee vice-chair Judy Whyte said: “Although Stonehaven has a wide range of sports, leisure and community facilities at present, many of them are ageing and we need to look to the future to ensure limited resources are maximised for the benefit of the town and ensure the local community has a key role in determining what that looks like.
“This is good news for Stonehaven and surrounding communities, and I hope we can include as many local views as possible as part of this process.”
Live Life Aberdeenshire is currently identifying local groups and organisations to participate in the process, which is expected to run over the summer, with a community vote on proposals expected to take place in August or September.
Projects arising from the process are expected to enter the design stage at the end of 2021.