The discussions on the future of the Moray ice rink were almost derailed yesterday when councillors heard tentative plans for a rival facility had been aired.
Members were told a private individual had proposed building a competing rink at personal cost – and that this could reduce use of the Elgin facility.
Council convener Allan Wright said the matter had “started as a rumour but had become more than that”.
Buckie councillor Gordon McDonald said: “If I’m making a decision on how to spend taxpayer money I need to have all the facts.”
Supporters of the Moray Leisure Centre rink and other members of the public were asked to leave the room while the matter was discussed privately.
Last night councillor Sean Morton said colleagues had not regarded the suggestion of a proposed rival rink as a realistic concern.
He said: “The details we were provided with for that rink were so unbelievably ambitious I wasn’t entirely sure whether they were full-scale plans for the Winter Olympics to happen in Elgin.
“They were just fantastical, and the proposed venue would never have been ready in the next few years.
“Moray Council is not in the habit of making decisions based on rumours of what could happen.”
Chairman of Moray Leisure Centre Steve Ash said: “I think given the costs involved it would be extremely difficult for any private individual to set up a competing facility.”