The Quay Zone – which will be operated by South Carrick Community Leisure (SCCL) on behalf of South Ayrshire Council – will transform leisure and community facilities across the area, with a 25 metre swimming pool, soft play area, superb fitness gym, flexible multi-purpose studio/community space, changing facilities and café.
The winning name of the new community leisure centre at Girvan Harbour has been unveiled today (28 January) as construction work got underway on the new £6 million facility, which will be called The Quay Zone.
The Quay Zone name and logo – unveiled today on an eye-catching billboard – were suggested by Ballantrae resident, Robert Whittington, who entered the public competition to name the new centre and now becomes the Quay Zone's very first member by winning a year's free membership.
Robert (35), a gardener at Glenapp Castle, said: "I'm chuffed to win the competition, which I only entered as a bit of fun, and am really honoured and excited to be the first member of the Quay Zone. I picked up the competition leaflet from my boys' school bags and, as we've been following developments for the new leisure centre closely, thought I might as well give it a go.
"I came up with the name based on the waterside location for the new centre and to reflect the fact – as we kept hearing – that the centre was going to be much more than just a swimming pool. So, Quay for the water, and Zone because there's lots of different things you can do. I even thought younger people might even want to shorten it to the QZ!
"Our whole family will definitely be making use of the Quay Zone when it opens – it will make a massive difference to us and I can't wait to be first through the door."
Most of the funding for the Quay Zone has been provided by South Ayrshire Council, with additional funding contributions from sportscotland, Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Carrick Futures, Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Fund, Scottish Power Renewables Kilgallioch Wind Farm, and the William Grant Foundation.
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "Today is a truly historic occasion as we embark on a journey that will not only help regenerate the Girvan and South Carrick area and economy, but will have a very real and positive impact on people's health and wellbeing and quality of life.
"The Council has worked closely with South Carrick Community Leisure to ensure that our people and communities have had their say every step of the way, and there's no doubt they have been a real driving force in getting us to where we are today.
"I know that passion and commitment will continue as SCCL take up the operational reins and I hope they get the buy-in and support they need from the local community to make sure the Quay Zone is a great success.
"I'm very proud of what the Council and community have achieved, working in partnership. There's no doubt we are making a difference and making lives better and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the Quay Zone take shape at Girvan Harbour."
Andrew Sinclair, Chair of SCCL, added: "This is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting days Girvan and South Carrick has seen in a very long time and I want to thank everyone who has supported us as we worked with the Council to bring our vision for quality leisure facilities to life.
"I also want to thank everyone who took the time to enter our naming competition and let us know just how much interest there was in local communities about what we were doing. We were overwhelmed by the response and it was very difficult to choose between the suggestions; however, Robert's idea really stood out and picked up on all the key elements we wanted it to.
"It's almost impossible to imagine just how much The Quay Zone will transform lives right across Girvan and South Carrick and whether you're an intense athlete, keep fit regularly, or just want to have fun or somewhere to get together, we'll have something to offer everyone when we open our doors in 14 months' time.
"It's been a long, hard slog and we know there's more hard work to come as we do everything we can to make sure the Quay Zone is a success. For today, however, we can all be very proud and we can say – we did it!"
Minister for Housing and Welfare, Margaret Burgess MSP, said: "I'm delighted to mark the start of construction of the new Girvan and South Carrick Community Leisure Centre which will transform this vacant site into a fantastic community hub and help improve people's health and wellbeing.
"This £250,000 investment through the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund will also support the creation of new jobs and open up training opportunities for young people.
"By working in partnership with local government, this fund is providing a catalyst to the successful delivery of regeneration projects across Scotland.
"Investment in local projects like this, which place communities at their heart, is absolutely key to tackling inequalities in disadvantaged areas. It is this approach which is at the core of Scotland's economic strategy to stimulate economic growth and create a fairer Scotland."
Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive of development partner hub South West, said: "This is an exciting new development for Girvan and South Carrick, and hub South West are delighted to be a part of it.
"The Quay Zone will provide a fantastic, modern environment for the community to enjoy and will be visited by many generations to come.
"We are proud that local people benefit from the projects we are involved in, and we look forward to working with South Ayrshire Council, Morrison Construction and contractors from the surrounding area to deliver this excellent community facility."
Morrison Construction Ltd has been appointed as the design and build contractor for the project through hub South West, which was set up by the Scottish Futures Trust to deliver major public sector building projects.
The Quay Zone will open in March 2017.