After years of campaigning by local residents children in Feeny are set to get a new £70,000 playpark.
The plan was initially developed by the former Limavady Borough Council in 2014, but the idea first arose back in 2011.
On Tuesday, a proposal to proceed with the legacy project received the green light from the majority of councillors on the Causeway Coast and Glens Leisure and Development committee. It will be taken forward to a full Council meeting later this month for ratification.
Causeway Coast and Glens council Funding Unit Manager, Patricia O’Brien, estimated a cost of £70,000 for the new facility, with funding to come from the Landfill Communities Fund.
Sinn Fein councillor Tony McCaul said it was “great news “as the current facility was “really just two balls of rust”, which amounted to a climbing frame and a slide.
“Feeny has a population of over 2,000 people, with 500 children and the facilities are pathetic. Parents tell me they have to travel elsewhere to use playparks so this is a good news story. We hope it will be done within this financial year, and we’ll see diggers on the ground quickly.” said Colr. McCaul.
Ann O’Brien from Feeny Community Association said: “It’s brilliant news. We have been campaigning for this for a few years. The parents have nowhere to take the kids now. We run a Saturday Club and, in the good weather, there have been times we had them playing in the car park.
“Could you imagine even with 20 or 30 kids in this current park? They’d have to take turns on the slide or climbing frame. There isn’t enough equipment. The kids want to play. They don’t want to be stuck in front of the television. It’s long overdue.”
Local mum, Teresa Bradley said: “We’ve been fighting for it for years, so we are very happy. It will mean a lot to people. It means families won’t have to travel elsewhere to find a safe playpark. Parents and children deserve better.”
During discussion on the project at Council on Tuesday, UUP Colr. Norman Hillis was happy to support a proposal to proceed with the project, and said it was “always good when the cost is nil to Council”.
“This is ready to rattle and roll,” he said, “and I’m happy to support it.”
UUP Colr. Darryl Wilson said: “We have the funding and the project is ready to go. I don’t think we should wait. Let’s get it done.
“Expedience is the key thing here.”
The new park will have equipment suitable for children aged 0 to 12 years, and also includes equipment which is accessible to children with disabilities.