THE fate of Plas Madoc Leisure Centre will be shaped today as councillors meet twice within the space of hours to vote on its future.
The Acrefair facility is set to be closed, decommissioned and demolished after June 30, following a vote to close it by Wrexham Council’s executive board earlier this month.
However, five councillors – David Taylor, William Baldwin, John Pritchard, Ronnie Prince and Pat Jeffares – have ‘called in’ the decision, claiming the process was based purely on finance and had not considered wider health impacts of the decision on a community classed in the top 25 of most deprived areas of Wales.
According to the notice, the closure would ‘severely affect health and well-being of the people of south Wrexham’ and questions the lack of consultation with schools in the area.
The call-in will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee at 2.15pm today and members will vote as to whether to send the decision back to the executive board for reconsideration in March.
Hours later, at 6.30pm, the local authority’s full council will meet to vote on the budget for the next financial year - which includes the Plas Madoc closure as part of the council’s savings.
All 52 councillors are set to attend and campaigners from Save Plas Madoc Leisure Centre have sent correspondence to all members to urge them to vote against the budget.
Cllr Ronnie Prince fears if the closure goes ahead it could mean many young people not having the opportunity of learning how to swim.
“Potentially losing the swimming baths at Plas Madoc could cost lives in the future,” said Cllr Prince.
“Swimming promotes good health and can help save people from drowing.”
Cllr Prince said about 12 years ago his son Ryan, then aged 11, proved to be a lifesaver when they were on holiday in Gran Canaria.
“Ryan saw a young boy, aged about two, jump into a swimming pool and start to sink to the bottom.
“The pool was out of the way and there was no-one else around. Ryan dived in and got the child, saving his life.
“If Ryan couldn’t swim himself and had gone to fetch help it would have been too late.
“The boy’s mother and father were so relived when they found out what had happened. They were crying with shock.”
Cllr Prince said the parents of the boy who had been saved were from Scotland and they gave Ryan a present for his courage.