Published: 10:51, 25 February 2019
| Updated: 14:05, 25 February 2019
After years of waiting, the moment came.
The £25 million Dover District Leisure Centre opened to the public for the first time at 9am today.
Sue Chandler, chairman of Dover District Council undertook the ribbon cutting ceremony with Emily Rose Evans of Dover Life Guards and Gloria Riley Dover Squash Club.
She was joined in the opening ceremony by Rose Evans of Dover Life Guards,Gloria Riley Dover Squash Club.
The centre, run by Places Leisure, features the first swimming pool in Kent to be purpose-built to Sport England specifications for a county standard competition swimming pool.
The 25m by 17m eight-lane pool includes starting blocks, timing pads, and an electronic scoreboard. It will have spectator seating for 250 people.
The 15m x 8.5m learner pool has a moveable floor to vary the depth.
Dry-side, the centre includes a four court sports hall, clip ‘n climb interactive climbing arena, a 120-station fitness suite and two multi-activity studios.
Last Thursday the Mercury was invited to a preview to film and photograph what the centre, at Honeywood Parkway, Whitfield has to offer.
There will also be a spin studio, two glass-backed squash courts with spectator seating, two outdoor five-a-side football 3G pitches, a sauna and steam room, a café, and 250 parking spaces.
Centre manager Tony Crafer, who was also at the ribbon cutting, said: "We are offering a wide range of facilities here to cater for everyone.
"We are excited to introduce people to this centre and it's been a long time coming.
"We are very keen to make sure it is successful for everyone."
The project goes back to spring 2016 when consultants were appointed to look at refurbishing the predecessor centre or building a new one.
It was concluded that it would be more cost effective to start from scratch.
That option was supported by 89% of respondents in a public consultation.
Construction for the new facility, at Honewood Parkway in Whitfield, took 72 weeks from end to end.
The predecessor centre , which opened in 1976, closed down on February 17.