Accepting money for a trial Sunday opening of the Lewis Sports centre would give
the “wrong impression,” after a democratic vote was taken on the issue says the council.
In October, councillors voted 19-9 against a motion for a year's trial run to open
for three hours each Sunday.
But Sunday opening supporters raised £11,400 to cover the costs for a year-old pilot.
A cheque will be available to be presented to the council on 3 February but the council
is rejecting the cash.
Comhairle leader, Angus Campbell, said: “The decision of the comhairle was not to
implement a pilot.
“We have been very clear that this decision was not only based on the financial implications
but also on the employment and operational issues involved and the need to represent
the views of the majority of people in our wards.
“Members of the community had the opportunity to engage with our 31 elected members
across the length and breadth of the Western Isles and the numerous representations
made were not only taken into account fully, but also reflected in the majority decision
not to go ahead with trial opening period.
“Therefore, it would be wrong to give the impression that money raised could change
that democratic decision.”
The comhairle previously took a swipe at what it sees as the London-based NSS’s interference
in a local matter.
Local group, Families into Sport for Health (FiSH), launched a crowdfunding appeal
after the comhairle voted against testing out seven-day opening of the facility.
There was insufficient support to hit its target. Then the National Secular Society
(NSS) stepped in with a hefty donation to cover the outstanding amount.
In a joint statement with Fish at the time, the NSS said it got involved as “Sabbatarians
have imposed their dogma on islanders for long enough.”
It claimed the council was putting up a “smokescreen” and involved in “religious
bullying and intolerance” as Sabbatarian councillors try to maintain an “iron grip
in 'their' patch, in pursuit of their own sectarian interests.”