The comhairle is set to turn down a sum of £11,400 being donated for Sunday opening
for Lewis Sports Centre.
Campaign group, Families into Sport for Health (FiSH), will have to keep the £11,400
it raised through an internet crowdfunding drive.
However, Fish is still going ahead with a public relations event to present the cheque
to the council on 3 February.
A council representative may or may not turn up but Hebrides News understands the
group will be given an explanation why the Sunday opening condition cannot be fulfilled.
The council previously stressed Sabbath observance is not the reason why councillors
voted against seven day opening.
It said a democratic vote which decided the outcome was based on an objective assessment
of the likely costs and the employment and operational issues involved – not just
purely financial issues.
A Fish spokesperson said: “The cheque presentation will be the official offering
of funds to the CnES for a 12 month trial of Sunday opening hours of ISL.
“Should the council wish to accept or decline the funds, they can do so at that time.”
The comhairle said councillors democratically voted against the trial opening not
just on costs but taking account of staffing and operational issues.
Islanders had the opportunity to engage with elected councillors and representations
from the wider community were reflected in the majority decision, it added.
Fish said it feels it is “necessary to hold a public event for this offering as throughout
this campaign there has been public confusion.
“The community saw the crowdfunder as a solution to the stated financial problem
as precedent had been set with the swim club.”
Its spokesperson said: “We would like the CnES to provide an official and public
statement in light of funds now being available as reasons against opening on Sundays
have been ever-changing and the process for achieving community engagement ambiguous."
group said it feels let down by the council's “persistent efforts” to keep the facilities
closed on Sundays “instead of reasonably considering” the possibility of opening.
The fundraising drive was only successful due to the National Secular Society (NSS)
With 24 hours to go it was looking doubtful if the high profile campaign would gather
sufficient support to hit its target £11,400.
The NSS said it intervened and paid the outstanding amount to “ensure success” for
the crowdfunding initiative.
It said the attempt by “religious fundamentalists on the Western Isles of Scotland
to stop families using a swimming pool on the Sabbath is not the first time the local
council... has imposed its religious dogmatism on the whole community.”