Sunday 24 September 2023

Olympia handover imminent but public reopening still some weeks away

Fraser has been advised that handover of the Olympia swimming and leisure facilities from the contractor following multi-million pound repairs is imminent – in the first week of October – but that the public reopening will be some weeks away due to necessary actions after handover, including a deep clean, site-specific training and moving equipment, to allow full public re-opening.

The City Council’s Senior Manager for Design & Property Services has advised him :

“Handover is programmed contract completion is 6th October.

It will then be handed back to Operational Property who are already liaising with Leisure and Culture Dundee, as are we as we road map to completion.”

Fraser contacted the Director of Leisure and Culture Dundee who has further advised him :

“Once we have possession of the building there will be extensive cleaning works required with the Olympia having been an active building site. We are taking advice from the contractor and Dundee City Council on this.

There will also be a period of training required to ensure that all the staff are ready to operate the venue. This includes onboarding the new recruits that we have been adding to the team since our recruitment drive which started in June. Where possible this will take place at our other venues, however they will need to have all the site-specific training once we have full access.

There will also be other practical elements such as moving equipment, people and programmes back from other venues. This will require some logistics and time to turn it around and minimise impact on the other venues.

There are other elements such as testing equipment to ensure everything is in working order, where possible these will be done prior to the full handover.

During this period we will also continue to support other venues across the city to maintain their extended opening hours and October holiday cover. This is vital to minimise the disruption to our customers to ensure that they continue to have access elsewhere prior to the Olympia opening.”

Fraser added :

“Although the exact date of public re-opening is yet to be announced I suspect it will be during November once all the actions that the Director of Leisure and Culture Dundee has spoken of have taken place after handover from the contractor.

It will be a great relief to see the facility reopened given the real pressure on public and club swimming facilities in Dundee over such an extended period. There’s been the appointment of a new Olympia Manager, Fraser Calderwood, who comes with extensive management experience, which is positive news, as will be new gym equipment, new exercise programmes and the introduction of a turnstile system which will help aid access at Olympia.

During the council’s Scrutiny Committee investigation into the Olympia debacle, I emphasised that a key failing in previous years was the lack of a short annual maintenance closure to ensure that all repairs and maintenance required was investigated and undertaken. This happened every year at the old Olympia on the waterfront and there has been agreement that the current Olympia will have such a proper annual maintenance programme to avoid any repetition of the extended closure for extensive repairs as we have recently seen. I have sought assurances that this annual maintenance programme is now in place going forward.”