Hopes remain afloat for a Moray swimming pool designed for disabled users, despite councillors refusing to grant a funding lifeline this week.
The Moray Hydroptherapy Pool in Forres applied for £20,000 from the council’s children and young people’s services committee.
But after hearing that the centre is running at a loss of £41,000 per year, members elected to refuse the bid on financial grounds.
When the pool opened councillors agreed to support the fledgling board with £20,000 for its first three years, but they were unwilling to agree to extending the deal.
Last night the chairman of the pool’s board of trustees Chris Combe said he was confident that the venue had sufficient money to remain open for at least two years.
The board will meet next week to discuss other avenues of funding.
He said: “We’re very disappointed at the council’s decision, but barring any major disasters we have enough to keep going.
“We were hoping by now we would not need the council’s funding, but it costs a lot to run.
“The pool is heated to 34 degrees and runs on gas, but the electricity to run all the pumps is the main cost.”
Since opening in 2011, the pool’s main purpose has been to provide water-based therapy for people with mobility problems.
Mr Combe said: “Everybody who uses it benefits vastly from it.
“It may be losing money but it is a valuable resource to the community.”
During Wednesday’s meeting Keith and Cullen councillor Gary Coull proposed that the committee give the facility a reprieve, providing funding for one more year before severing the allowance.
But Forres councillor George Alexander said the council needed to show the flailing health centre some “tough love”.
He said: “If we do what Councillor Coull suggests and the committee who run this facility continue in the way they have been then every year we will be faced with a huge loss.
“The board must get its act together.”
The issue split the committee, and it came down to chairwoman, Forres councillor Lorna Cresswell, to cast the deciding vote to refuse funding.