Close to £2.9 million has been spent on the relocation of a government department to Ballykelly in the last five years, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.
From June 2011 to end March 2016 approximately, £2.86m has been spent on construction costs for the new base for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Afffairs.
Construction was previously due to start in July, 2016, however that date has been extended to September 2016.
A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said: “These dates were based on a Contractor being appointed in January 2016. JH Turkington & Sons were not appointed until March 2016.”
The department says the relocation of the DAERA headquarters to Ballykelly remains on target with the new build to be completed by the end of 2017.
“Following a tendering process, JH Turkington & Sons Ltd, were appointed in March 2016 and have commenced a period of pre-construction design work.
“Pre construction involves the full and detailed design of the building and Mechanical and Electrical installation, for example, developing cross sections of the building showing how each and every element is constructed,” said the spokesperson.
A detailed staffing plan that will set out what posts will relocate to Ballykelly and when is currently being considered by the Minister.
“A phased approach is planned with mainly corporate service type posts relocating by December 2017. From 2018 onwards further phasing of moves will enable the Department to replace the knowledge and skills needed to ensure business continuity, however at this stage the Minister is reflecting on the plans,” the spokesperson added.
Agriculture minister, Michelle McIlveen will visit the site when construction work begins in September 2016. the spokesperson added.