A controversial call has been made for Moray Council to consider shutting down libraries to save money rather than abandon Elgin Community Centre.
The authority announced budget cut proposals in September as it outlined how it would plug a £19 million hole in its finances.
They included a plan to close the community centre, saving £78,000 a year in the process, even though it is a well-used facility.
Now a petition has been launched that aims to persuade the cash-strapped council to keep the doors open.
And its author, Rosalyn Wie, has suggested a potentially divisive alternative plan that she believes would enable local administration chiefs to find the savings elsewhere.
The administrator of Moray Dance, who are one of the most regular users of the centre, believes local libraries could be sacrificed to balance books, claiming they are poorly used.
Moray Dance have run classes and workshops for children in the venue for nearly nine years, using it four times a week as they book out two studios for about 200 youngsters, together with a room for parents.
With the facility at risk, however, Mrs Wie has been attempting find an alternative premises for the organisation, but without success.
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She said: “I think that the centre is hugely important to the region and that is why I’m making a stand about it as where else will people meet up?
“It caters from birth to death as there is a knitting place, a lunch club and a nursery and there are not many buildings that are as useful as that in Moray.
“The libraries should be shut before the centre as they are not used as much anymore.
“The libraries are equipped with staff, heating and facilities for only a handful of people.
“My husband used to work in schools and we can see that book-lending is a thing of the past. Any reading groups can come to the centre.”
Mrs Wie said Moray Council would be making a huge mistake if they go ahead with proposals to close the centre.
She said: “If the centre shuts down, there is nowhere for us to go and that is also true for the 63 other clubs that use it on a regular basis.
“The closure of the centre seems like a knee-jerk reaction from the council who have been backed into the corner as they need to save money after badly mismanaging the centre for so many years.
“I would like them to reconsider and get a financial brain to come and look into its running. It is open six days a week so why is it losing so much money?”
With a decision about the future of the community centre to be made next month, Mrs Wie thinks that a Community Asset Transfer is a last resort.
She said: “If the council can invest £200,000 in keeping Moray Leisure Centre afloat why can’t they invest in Elgin Community Centre and run it better?
“The pricing structure needs to be better as some groups pay less than others and we can bring in a slightly higher toll for the car park as well.
“A community asset transfer, similar to the one at Elgin Town Hall and run by people who use the hall, would be the last-ditch plan, though the preference is to carry on running it under slightly better management.”
Moray Council leader Graham Leadbitter believes that this view is one of many that will have been raised during the public consultations about some of their budget cutting proposals.
He said: “We will take all comment so board from the public consultations and this view is one of many that we have seen in them.
“We can’t pre-empt what will come back from them but we have seen good engagement from the public.”