A shortlist of options to improve sport and leisure infrastructure in Stonehaven has been identified ahead of a public vote in the New Year.
Live Life Aberdeenshire (LLA), the sports and cultural service of Aberdeenshire Council, has committed to spending £1.8m of its capital budget on projects identified by and receiving the greatest support from the local community.
Over the past few months, engagement has been ongoing with the public, community groups, clubs and young people to understand local needs and identify options which can progress to a vote.
Through this engagement, the community has indicated a range of sport and leisure activities that could be supported. Proposals have been put forward by clubs and groups to enhance existing or add additional spaces required to accommodate these sporting activities.
A reference group was constituted in the summer to support LLA officers in reviewing options and the approach to Participatory Budgeting. It comprises Aberdeenshire Council officers from other services, community council members, representatives of sports clubs and colleagues from health and social care and local schools.
A shortlist of options was agreed with the Reference Group in October and with the support of architects, outline drawings are being prepared to help the community visualise what they will be voting on.
Although the public vote was originally scheduled to take place in Autumn 2020, it will now take place in February 2022 following discussions with the Reference Group and the need for further clarification and development of some of the options.
One key message that has come through from the community so far is the need for facilities to cater for all in the community, including those with physical disabilities.
At present seven options are expected to progress to the vote. These include: an additional covered multiuse sports area at the leisure centre; upgrade to the gym, fitness, dance areas and changing at the leisure centre; funding to support additional multi-use space within Stonehaven Recreation Grounds; funding to support a covered tennis facility at Stonehaven Recreation Grounds; upgrade to the skate park area including seating and lighting; upgrade to the outdoor space within Stonehaven Recreation Grounds to incorporate challenge putting, petanque and quoits, and PAMIS (Promoting A More Inclusive Society) changing area within the Stonehaven Leisure Centre.
More detail on the options and indicative designs will be provided in the New Year as well as details of how to participate in the voting process.
The objective of the Participatory Budgeting project is to give the community a say on the delivery of high-quality sport and leisure venues which are accessible with a positive and welcoming environment, offering better opportunities for people to lead healthier, happier lives.