Future of flume safe but plans for refurbishment will have to wait

THE Millennium Flume at the leisure centre will not be pulled down.

But officials have revealed that refurbishment work won’t be carried out for some time given the current economic climate.

Fresh fears had risen this week amid rumours the flume, which has been out of order due to health and safety concerns, was to be dismantled and removed.

Before its closure the attraction had been showing signs of old age, while there were also issues over manning it and the cost of providing 27,000 gallons of water each time it operated.

The joints are out of alignment and the gel on the glass reinforced plastic slide surface has worn thin resulting in the danger that people will suffer cuts and abrasions.

Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Borders Sport and Leisure Trust, told the Hawick News that a recent options analysis had pointed towards dismantling the flume and replacing it with inflatable alternatives.

However, he said: “We have researched various options and are of the view that the best solution will be to refurbish the flume and reconfigure associated pipework to draw the water later in the pool water circulation process. This option is expensive and in these challenging financial times we cannot hide from the fact that undertaking the flume repair is not at the top of our priority list.

“We are pleased that the flume is not going to be dismantled and we have the ambition to refurbish the flume at some point in the future.”

The £57,000 TLC flume, which was installed in 2001, became the focus of a massive fund-raising drive in the town, and it was also the recipient of more than £25,000 from the Hawick Common Good Fund.

But Mr Jackson is hoping the inflatables, which have already proven popular and seen a 24.4 per cent increase in pool users compared to 2010, will provide a sufficient stop-gap solution until such as the flume is fixed.

He added: “Our investment in inflatable fun equipment for the pool as stated above however ensures that the leisure and fun element of the pool is safeguarded and since the purchase of the inflatable we have seen significant increases in the number of junior swims.”