Derry City and Strabane District Council has detailed the major local projects it plans to take forward over the next year, as new data being monitored locally suggests thousands of new jobs have been created here over the past four years.
The Council’s Corporate and Improvement Plan 2019/20 was unveiled before Councillors sitting on the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee at their June meeting recently. The plan outlines how the Council aims to invest in and progress long-awaited projects.
Having already completed £49m of capital projects in the last three years, funding has now been set aside by Council to progress a further £70m of projects.
2019 will see the progression of three significant cross-border greenway developments from Derry to Buncrana, Derry to Muff and Strabane to Lifford, totalling €20m, and local greenway development at Ebrington, Clooney and Kilfennan.
Community centre developments at Galliagh, Top of the Hill, Waterside Shared Village, Glenview,
Shantallow, Culmore and Ballymagroarty/ Hazelbank are also expected to be realised this year, along with play facilities and spaces at St Columb’s Park and across the Strabane district.
In addition, negotiations are now progressing towards Derry & Strabane’s City Deal and this year’s rates proposals will provide £20m of investment towards these ambitious plans.
These include a new Templemore Sports Complex, the widening of Buncrana Road, the expansion of the University of Ulster at Magee and North West Regional College and investment in skills and pathways to employment. They also include the development of City of Derry Airport and Foyle Port, and the continued progression of the A5 Western Transport Corridor Upgrade and the A6 Derry to Belfast Road Upgrade.
The document also looks at previous and projected achievements including employment opportunities, and SDLP Councillor Sinead McLaughlin said she was concerned by the use of the term ‘jobs promoted’ as opposed to ‘jobs created’.
“Is there another measure we could use?” she asked. “It never sits well with me and can be twisted and turned,” she said. “What about jobs created? I’d like to think there was another way to benchmark and to indicate.”
Council Chief Executive John Kelpie said: “I agree entirely in terms of terminology”.
Mr Kelpie said that the Council worked with government colleagues and was keeping a live register of all jobs in this city and district that are announced or that they become aware of.
He said that since they started compiling this register in April 2015 there appeared to be 5,500 new positions created locally, but added that it was a challenging figure to follow.
People Before Profit Colr. Shaun Harkin welcomed this. He said: “Jobs in Derry are very, very important and it is god to see there are more jobs.”
He added however that the quality of these jobs was something that must be examined alongside issues such as zero hours contracts, pay and conditions.