SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack says Derry’s parks and green spaces need to be properly resourced in order to prevent them from becoming no-go areas due to vandalism, under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour.
Colr. Cusack said the extent of the problem struck home after a group of young girls sought her help due to their fear of a group of drinkers.
She said: “Last week a couple of 8-year-old girls came up to me in one of our parks, it was a sunny teatime, they were playing on their scooters, they chatted and petted my dog, an idyllic scenario.
“Then they asked if I could help them get home as they were fearful of passing a group of youths drinking on the steps...the real reason the stopped to chat.
“This made me incredibly sad, angry and also incredibly determined that it’s time for our laissez faire attitude to our parks to change.”
She added: “I personally witness vandalism, blatant drinking and ASB in one of our most recently developed parks on a weekly basis, a park which cost thousands of pounds to create.
“Yet, I am told very little can be done due to lack of resources, apart from encouraging public reporting...the problem is a Catch 22...there will be no general public using it if Council does not deal with these issues.”
On Thursday Derry City and Strabane District Council backed a motion proposed by Colr. Cusack calling for local parks to be adequately resourced, monitored and maintained.