Dundee Olympia sags: 'Dozens' to blame says council leader – The Courier

John Alexander says factors including location, maintenance, design and construction quality caused the two-year closure of the swimming pools.
The leader of Dundee City Council has admitted “dozens” of people – including himself – must take a portion of the blame for the Olympia debacle.
The city’s main swimming pools reopened to the public on December 18 after a closure lasting more than two years.
The centre was forced to shut down in October 2021 – just over eight years after it opened at a cost of £33 million – when an issue with a light fitting was discovered.
But more problems were then found, including corrosion on the flumes, forcing the centre into a prolonged closure for £6m worth of repairs.
Since the closure, the council’s SNP administration has repeatedly turned down calls from opposition politicians for an inquiry into what went wrong at the centre.
Council leader John Alexander has also been keen to move on from the saga, saying last December that there were no “skeletons in the closet”.
But in an interview with The Courier, Mr Alexander has conceded for the first time that several people must take some responsibility for what went wrong at the centre – and said both the location and the construction of the Olympia were factors.
He said: “When you look at all the issues, no single person is responsible.
“From day one there have been issues – everything from location, to maintenance, to design and construction quality have caused problems.
“There were ongoing issues that were never dealt with right up until the day it was closed.
“I would say that literally dozens of people have to share the blame.
“This includes every council leader, chief executive and director.”
The Courier previously revealed how there were issues with the Olympia identified just weeks after it had opened in June 2013.
Mr Alexander said: “Believe me, if it was easy to identify one issue and one person responsible, I would do that.
“The problem is, there is no one issue – there have been dozens.
“There are interlinking aspects on both sides (the council and operator Leisure and Culture Dundee) that led to what happened.”
Despite turning down calls for an inquiry, Mr Alexander says the local authority is taking steps to ensure a similar situation does not arise at other facilities – insisting the council “will learn our lesson”.
He said: “The council is looking at every aspect of what went wrong.
“We are going to ensure, as much as we can, that something like this never happens again.
“We will carefully examine our procurement and maintenance policies going forward.
“Dundee City Council has one of the largest property portfolios of any local authority in the whole of Scotland and we can’t afford for this to happen again.
“We have to learn our lesson from this.
“We will tighten up our processes, in particular on signing off projects, including carrying out additional checks.
“And despite challenges to our budget, we will ensure additional maintenance is carried out.
“We will deliver what we say we are going to, using the skills of experts available to us.”

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