September 5 - Northern Ireland is to get its first Olympic-sized swimming pool, it has been confirmed by the country's Sports Minister Nelson McCausland after an anxious two-year wait over whether it would receive funding.

The £40 million 50 metre pool is to be built in Bangor and will be ready for the London 2012 Olympics, McCausland promised.

He said: “The project will go a long way towards addressing Northern Ireland’s need for world-class sporting facilities and will deliver a sporting infrastructure previously unavailable.”

The facility is to be built by North Down Borough Council, which has been awarded a £15m investment by Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL).

The funding had been promised in in June 2007 but the Council said in July that it was still waiting for final confirmation that they would receive the cash.
North Down beat bids from Castlereagh Council while two bids from Belfast City Council were rejected earlier in the process.
It is set to be built at Valentine Playing Fields in Bangor and will include spectator seating for up to 1,500 people.

The pool will be one of main facilities that Northern Ireland has to offer to overseas teams planning to train in the United Kingdom in the build-up to London 2012.
McCausland said: “I am pleased that we have reached this point which will allow the project to move forward towards its construction phase, which is currently on target for completion in 2012 and which will create much-needed construction jobs.

“This will be Northern Ireland’s first Olympic-sized swimming pool.

"As a regional centre of excellence, it will be a state-of-the-art facility to be enjoyed by all the people of Northern Ireland.

“Sport is essential for our young people, and DCAL’s investment in elite sports facilities is not just about the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is about creating a sporting legacy for our young people so they feel inspired to play sport.”

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July 2009:
Bangor promise Olympic-sized pool will be ready for 2012