BY CHRIS KILPATRICK
THE Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre lost over £2million in the past three years, new figures have revealed.
Statistics show that from 2008 until 2011 the facility went into the red to the tune of £2,135,340.
In 2008/09 the centre lost £657,842, the following year it operated at a loss of £711,678 and in 2010/11 the figure was £765,820.
The Times can reveal the losses one week after Ballymoney Borough Council announced an increase of 3.05% for the domestic and non-domestic rates.
The figures combined with a regional rate increase of 2.2%, this means that ratepayers will see an increase of about 2.6%.
This is equivalent to an extra 53 pence per week for a household with a property value of £150,000. The average non-domestic ratepayer will pay an extra £5.81 per week.
The figures also detail losses across the board in regards to sports facilities under the council’s control.
Over the past three years the following facilities lost thousands of pounds:
Riada Stadium £208,242
Megaw Playing Fields £62,616
Rasharkin Playing Fields £37,989
Balnamore Playing Fields £52,240
Dunloy Playing Fields £53,583
Dervock Playing Fields £78,770
Dunaghy Playing Fields £49,999
Drumaheglis Marina and Caravan Park £59,055
Indeed the total loss of the above and the JDLC is £2,739,834.
On the council’s website the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre is described as “Northern Ireland’s Premier Leisure Centre”.
It boasts a health suite, sauna and steam room, two swimming pools, spa pool, snooker tables, fitness studio, cardio theatre including 48” television screens, dance studio and conservatory restaurant.
In Moyle, council programme Pulse has lost £25,930 in the past two years, according to the statistics on the Hansard website.
The figures show that leisure facilities across Northern Ireland run almost exclusively at a loss.
A Ballymoney Council spokesperson said: “Council has a duty to provide sport and recreational facilities and it provides a range of both indoor and outdoor facilities.
“In order to make the facilities accessible by all sections of the community opening hours are extensive and charges are subsidized to ensure access is available to everyone. The cost of these and other facilities provided by council is met from rates which is a property based tax which raises finance needed to provide public services.”