Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has confirmed £2.5 million for the development of greenways as part of her budget allocations for this financial year.
The Department will continue supporting local councils to deliver greenways in Strathfoyle, Strabane North, Forth Meadow and Lagan Gateway.
The Minister made the announcement as she was on site to see the progress on the Strathfoyle Greenway in Derry on a visit to the city.
The Strathfoyle Greenway is a 2.7 kilometres extension to the Waterside Greenway, which will link the residential area of Strathfoyle to Derry City and the wider Greenway network. The Department is completing resurfacing and new road layout as well as creating a shared use path and a new Toucan Pedestrian Crossing point on the route.
Minister Mallon said: “I am delighted to be here today to view the progress that has been made on the ground developing the Strathfoyle Greenway. We are working in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council to develop this community space for walking, wheeling and cycling, which are becoming more popular than ever.
“Greenway development is part of our programme to create public spaces which have a wide range of benefits for health and well-being and also for the environment. Greenways also have the potential to attract tourism. That is why I am continuing to support these projects from my £20 million Blue/Green Fund. I have also allocated £0.6 million to support preliminary work on a number of other Council greenway proposals and I am ready to make further funding allocations available to Councils that are in a position to start construction in 2021/22.
“I am committed to creating more active travel opportunities and developing sustainable infrastructure projects like this one which will help deliver cleaner, greener, sustainable active travel infrastructure across our island. I look forward to seeing this project when it is completed and hope that people right across the City of Derry will be able to enjoy this active space.”
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Brian Tierney, welcomed the Minster to the City and acknowledged her commitment to enhancing the green infrastructure in the North West area. “Extending the local greenway network and providing accessible and more environmentally friendly alternatives to the road is high on Council’s agenda and one of the key priorities identified in our Green Infrastructure plan. The Strathfoyle greenway also has an important role in connecting local communities, and linking people to key places in and around our city.
“I want to thank the Minister today for continuing to support these plans. The Covid pandemic has really brought into focus the need to enhance health and wellbeing through improving access to our open and outdoor spaces. I look forward to seeing the delivery of the Strathfoyle greenway in the summer of 2022 and the continued growth and development of our green infrastructure and the many health and environmental benefits that will bring.”
Paul Hughes from the Enagh Youth Forum said: “It’s refreshing to see continued progress being made on the new Strathfoyle / Maydown shared path. And fingers crossed construction on the new Strathfoyle Greenway will commence at the end of this year. Our local community plan is becoming a reality. We would like to thank Minister Mallon and DFI for investing in our rural communities. This improved infrastructure will connect communities, improve health outcomes; help to combat the worst effects of social exclusion and promote active travel.”
Advice and Support Available as Part of Alcohol Awareness Week
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, has said being aware of recommended limits and the effects of alcohol, and education around the potential dangers of alcohol, is extremely important.
The message comes as part of Alcohol Awareness Week, which takes place from Monday 14th to Sunday 20th June. It is supported by the Public Health Agency and the five Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams and centres around encouraging people to take a closer look at their drinking habits by counting their units to see if they’re staying within the recommended weekly limits.
Mayor Warke said that taking some time to evaluate personal alcohol consumption is recommended.
“Many people like to enjoy alcohol in moderation, but sometimes it can be very easy to find yourself consuming more than is recommended without even realising.
“This can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health, so it’s hugely important that everyone consuming alcohol is aware of the legal age, the recommended limits and is checking in on how that measures up with their own habits.
“The stresses and challenges of the past 16 months, and how much we have all been staying at home, may have led to some people drinking more alcohol than they typically would have before, so Alcohol Awareness Week this year is a particularly good opportunity to pick up a few helpful tips on how you can make small changes that will have a big difference in ensuring you can enjoy alcohol safely and in moderation.”
Further Regeneration of St Columb’s Park En Route
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced investment of almost £230,000 for a regeneration project designed to replace a pedestrian entrance and to improve car parking facilities into St Columb’s Park.
An investment of £183,535 from the Department for Communities, £25,000 from the Executive Office and £21,160 from Derry City and Strabane District Council will enable the improvements to commence.
This funding package will see the creation of a new pedestrian entrance opposite the Peace Tree, giving better and safer access/egress to St Columb’s Park from Ebrington Estate and wider links to the Waterside and City Centre. The car park will be resurfaced, reconfigured and realigned allowing for disabled parking and will include ramps, a new pedestrian pathway linking the car park to the new entrance and new crossing points. Soft landscaping will further enhance the area with the planting of hedging and trees.
Minister Hargey said: “I am delighted to announce this funding which will progress and complement the continued regeneration of St Columb’s Park. This project will enhance this stunning public amenity providing a safer, welcoming space for wellbeing, where we can walk, cycle and enjoy the extensive green space benefiting both the local community and visitors to the area.
“My Department continues to support our town and city centres recover from the impacts of Covid-19 and with increased usage over the past year it is more important than ever to invest in our cities green spaces.”
Welcoming the news, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney said: “I very much welcome the announcement of this funding which will enable us to finish works at the gateway to our beautiful St Columb’s Park, complementing the landscaping already completed on the Avenue. It will make accessing the park easier and more visually attractive for local people and visitors alike.
“Council continues to prioritise and invest in green space provision across the City and District and to identify opportunities to develop and enhance our green infrastructure to benefit the health, wellbeing and convenience of everyone. I want to thank our partners in the Department and The Executive Office, and commend everyone involved in the fantastic work on this project to date.”
This project has been jointly developed by The Executive Office and Derry City and Strabane District Council. The project will be managed by the Council who have already successfully completed a number of public realm projects in this beautiful park.