COUNCIL leaders have said while they would have preferred work at the Oasis to have moved more quickly, the public will still benefit from the it.
Earlier this month, it was revealed the refurbishment of the pool side changing rooms, as well as the replacement of the iconic dome, are not going to begin until the end of this year.
Moirai Capital Investments, which holds the lease, has said this is to avoid any potential closure or disruption during peak periods. It was hoped the work would be completed by the end of 2013 but the company missed the key to start without causing disruption during a busy time of year.
Moirai are also in the process of putting together a proposal to build an indoor ski slope and a concert venue, which is expected to be put forward to the council later in the summer.
Coun Keith Williams (Con, Shaw), who is the cabinet member for leisure, said: “There are some elements of the Oasis that are moving a little slower than we would have liked but the deal has already saved the council a lot of money.
“We had a situation where the Oasis was being subsidised in the region of half a million every year so already there has been a big saving.
“Work to the changing rooms and dome are due to start later this year but a huge sum of money has already been invested. “The reception area has been transformed so visitors no longer have to queue in the rain. The gym has completely been transformed and is now one of the largest open plan gyms in the South West.”
There were also some concerns raised with the council about whether Moirai had sufficient finances in place last year but these fears have been allayed after the company secured a £1m loan for the rest of the refurbishment.
While the running of the Oasis is now in the hands of Moirai, and GLL operate the centre day-to-day, there is an option for the council to remove parts of land from the deal if there are significant delays in moving forward with the site’s development.
However, this is not thought to be on the cards at this stage.
Coun Williams says it important to remember that so far there has been an overall benefit to the public.
He said: “The investment we have seen so far would not have happened if it had remained in council control and the money saved has been used towards vital public services.
“A lot of people were concerned about prices rising but in fact we have seen prices stay the same, or go up in line with inflation, and in some cases, such as the gym, the prices have dropped.”