MORAY'S only ice rink has been saved from possible closure.
Councillors today agreed to install a new ice plant at Moray Leisure Centre in Elgin.
The ice rink had been facing closure at the end of this year after European legislation outlawing the gas used to refrigerate the rink.
However, at a special meeting of the full council, it was agreed to go for a replacement ice plant.
Councillor Douglas Ross, who sits on the board of Moray Leisure Centre, found unanimous backing for his proposal.
The decision follows a plea in 'The Northern Scot' print version last week from Ice4All, a group representing all users of the ice rink, for the rink to be saved.
Councillor Ross said: "I have been a long supporter of the ice facility in Moray. It is used by many people across Moray."
The council and Moray Leisure have had a lease and funding agreement since the centre opened in 1993, with the council currently funding the centre by over £600,000 a year.
Councillor Ross added: "This decision will give an assurance to the many users of the rink that the council is committed to its future and will spend a little more money to install a new plant rather than investing in other potential short-term measures.
"The overall message is that the ice rink’s future is guaranteed and the council has agreed an option for the ice plant which provides security for the long-term future of the facility."
He motion was backed by Elgin North Councillor Barry Jarvis.
The council will now commission an independent assessment to identify the best ice plant system, with a report going back to council as soon as possible.
The final cost of the new plant will attract 50% funding from SportScotland, the national sports agency.
Graeme Summers, chairman of Ice4All, who attended the meeting, said: "We are absolutely delighted by the decision. This is fantastic news."For a full report from the meeting see 'The Scot' print version on Thursday night.