Gwynedd County Council will press ahead with plans to create a new company to run the county’s leisure centres.
Councillors voted on Thursday in favour of leasing the twelve centres to a non-profit firm in order to protect them from further budget cuts and potential closures.
The move is expected to save around £500,000, although the new company will remain under control of the local authority with leisure centre staff being transferred on the same terms and conditions.
A report on the proposals warned the number of leisure facilities in Gwynedd would be cut or fees would go up by as much as 20% if no action was taken. It added that outsourcing to third parties had been considered, but warned that such a move would risk Welsh language services and implementing council policy.
Councillor Craig ab Iago, the cabinet member for leisure, said: ”The decision of the full council allows us to ensure that the level of leisure service provided to the residents of Gwynedd remains unchanged whilst also delivering financial savings.”
”Whilst the government cuts mean that we have no option but to deliver savings, the model approved by the full council allows us to tackle the financial pressures as well as continuing to maintain the curent network of 12 leisure centres. The new model will mean that the experience for users will not change, it will protect the rights of the staff at the centres as well as maintaining the bilingual service offered.”
”Obviously, we can’t ignore the possibility that the Westminster government may look to roll-out further cuts in the future, but we believe that the new model we’re introducing will provide the best way of keeping Gwynedd’s leisure centres open.”
The new company is expected to be operating by early 2019.