British Winter Olympics hero Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards has officially opened the Tarka Leisure Centre in Barnstaple, which includes a skiing conveyor machine.
Eddie cut the ribbon to declare the new facility open and headed straight to see the ‘endless’ ski slope, bringing the opportunity for everyone to try out skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing in North Devon.
“The endless ski slope is such a great idea. It looks a bit like a giant treadmill but for skiing,” said Eddie, who added, “When I started on my Olympic dream, I was fortunate that my home town of Cheltenham wasn’t too far from a dry ski slope. So, having this facility as part of an amazing new leisure centre here in Barnstaple will hopefully inspire people to give skiing a go, whether that’s just for fun or making a career from this great sport.”
Besides the ski slope Tarea Leisure Centre incorporated an existing tennis centre with its 6 indoor and 4 outdoor tennis courts, a full size artificial grass pitch for football and is located next to Falcons Gymnastics Academy. The site is also home to a 25m eight-lane competition swimming pool with movable floor, 20m four-lane learner pool with movable floor, a sports hall with four badminton courts, a large gym with Life Fitness equipment, two multi-purpose exercise studios, a spinning studio with virtual experience, a large indoor soft play, outdoor play area and a new reception area and café.
The new £15M centre, to be run by Lex Leisure, is owned by North Devon Council who have worked tirelessly to make the development a reality. With the existing leisure centre at the end of its commercial life, council officers managed to find considerable funding without which the town would have been left without a swimming pool and other much-loved facilities.
North Devon Council Leader David Worden commented,
“This is a great day for the North Devon community, the council and for officers like Mark Kentell who, as Head of Environmental Enhancement, worked so hard with his team to get the project off the drawing board and into action. It’s been designed and built with customers in mind, who’ve helped to shape the facilities such as movable floors in the swimming pools, improved access for people with disabilities and skiing too.”