A glimmer of light may be ahead for Badenoch & Strathspey residents missing their swimming at the Macdonald Aviemore resort pool.
Macdonald told the P&J yesterday it wanted to overcome the impasse over the contract it was renegotiating with Highland Council which resulted in the pool being closed to locals and would be making contact with the council this week.
Through arm’s length organisation Highland Life Highland (HLH), Highland Council paid £183,000 last year to Macdonald Hotels & Resorts to allow local members of the public entry to the pool.
When talks between Macdonald and Highland Council mired last month in a wrangle over the contract, the doors were abruptly shut to local swimmers.
A spokesman for Macdonald Aviemore Resort said: “We’ve been consistent in stressing that any compromise must be on the basis that the scheme is financially sustainable, taking into account the very significant rises in costs we have had to meet.
“Over the past two years alone, the resort has seen staff costs rise by 20% to £4.6 million, a 22% increase in energy costs to over £1 million and a 55% jump in business rates, which are now over £590,000 annually.”
“In an attempt to overcome the impasse, we will be making contact with the council this week to see whether we can resolve this unfortunate situation, but it’s clear that any reasonable, long-term solution needs to take these hard facts into account.”
Meanwhile the campaign group Save Our Swimming (SOS) Aviemore has continued to protest the closure, saying Macdonald is ‘being greedy’ and asking too much for the new contract.
Macdonald wants £200,000 this year to allow locals in, with an entry fee of £2 for adults and £4 for families.
A Highland Council spokeswoman said the council had not as yet had any approach from Macdonald.