So, here I am, the December Scottish Curler safely in the hands of the printers and the proofs all signed off, on my way to Aberdeen to spend an enjoyable day watching the first round of the Gold League, and this bombshell arrives in my email! The proposed National Curling Academy, to provide a home and training base for Scotland's top curlers, and which was to be built in association with Stirling's new rink, is not now going to go ahead. The news is on the Royal Club website here.
You may have been following the saga. Some five years ago Greenacres and Braehead were bidding for the project. Then Stirling wanted it. Not all who would supply the funding though, were fully on board. Various excuses were offered, and months (make that years) have gone by. Now it's not going to happen, and the whole process is right back to square one with the Royal Club now seeking expressions of interest from other rinks.
I would not normally reproduce verbatim the Royal Club announcement on the blog, but this is so important that I've included it below. Check out the Scottish Curling Forum where there will no doubt be a thread on this. If there isn't already, then I'll start one. Please contribute to the discussion. What do you think of the whole sorry business (apologies, I'm editorialising already)? Is anyone to blame for the five wasted years? Do we really need a National Academy facility (or Centre of Excellence as it used to be called)? If we are going to have one at all, should it go to Gogar, to Pitlochry, to Aviemore, to Cupar .......... Get talking on the Forum!
Here's the announcement:
Alternative Locations Sought for National Curling Academy
Following a lengthy process, the partners involved in the development of the National Curling Academy at Forthbank, Stirling have decided that they are not in a position, at this moment in time, to move forward with the project. Despite great efforts by all of the partners it was not possible to achieve the aims of the project in the immediate future. This decision does not effect the replacement for the current Stirling Ice Rink, work on which has already started and is hoped to be completed early in 2009.
Royal Club CEO, Colin Grahamslaw said “We are naturally disappointed that we are not able to progress the NCA project with Stirling at this time. We will be meeting with sportscotland in the next few days to discuss the implications and look at potential alternative sites for the NCA which we believe would be an important addition to the stock of curling facilities in Scotland.” Grahamslaw continued “As we look at alternative plans we need to ensure that the Academy provides not only top class facilities for our squad players but also gives first class ice provision for club curlers in the area in which it is built”
Although the process for assessing alternative locations will not be decided until after the meeting with sportscotland, who are the major funding partners in the project, any rink or group interested in discussing this opportunity should note their interest in writing with the Royal Club CEO before December 21st.