The other preferred option for the leisure centre is within Donard Park, on a site which lies close to the former school grounds.
At a meeting of Down District Council this week, it was reiterated that the cut-off point for striking a deal on the Shanslieve site is just a few weeks away.
Several councillors voiced their concerns that unless something is done now then plans for the scheme will be lost entirely – it is no secret that some councillors on Newry and Mourne Council, which is set to merge with Down in 2015, are against money being pumped into developing a multi-million-pound facility in the resort.
Committee director, Michael Lipsett, said he was in almost daily contact with the school site’s vendors and the parish in a bid to find a price that both parties can agree on.
However during the debate, Councillor Willie Clarke said he feared that the scheme was being endangered the longer the process drags on.
“This is just not acceptable,” he said. “This leisure, health and tourism centre is being jeopardised.
Mr Clarke also suggested the council could enter into a lease agreement to take long-term charge of the former school site.
Cllr Patrick Clarke said that if there was no movement in purchasing that site then the council needs to focus its attention on building within Donard Park.
“If there is no flexibility when it comes to the asking price then we should just move on and go for Donard Park. The people of Newcastle will be holding this council to account if this project is lost,” he warned.