‘Funding cocktail’ for Creggan reservoir would enable major projects proceed past flood risk phase

A substantial package of funding has been offered by the Department of Communities to enable vital safety work at Creggan reservoir.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 1:17 pm

The intervention, according to Foyle MLA Martina Anderson will hopefully lead to a wide range of important strategic projects in Derry proceeding.

Strict flood risk assessments based on a ‘worst case scenario’ of a dam collapsing at the Creggan reservoir have resulted in a series of planning refusals.

Ms. Anderson said: “The current legislation has meant that the Department for Infrastructure’s Rivers must recommend a blanket planning blight in some parts of Derry due to the conditions of, for instance, the Creggan reservoir.

“That has effectively stymied a number of key economic and community developments until what some might call minor, but necessary, safety work is financed and undertaken.”

Ms Anderson gave an example of how the matter blocked a business expansion plan at Fort George “essentially hitting the pause button on job creation there”.

“It has delayed the Glen Development Initiative in building a new community centre in the area, and mothballed plans for additional social housing, which we desperately need in Derry,” she said.

“It has implications for the future A2 Buncrana Road dualling project and expansion of the Magee university campus.”

The Derry MLA said that she has proactively engaged in discussions with Derry City & Strabane District Council, the Rivers Agency and the Department for Communities to urgently ‘identify a cocktail of funding to undertake the safety work at the Creggan reservoir’.

Some of the money has now been secured from the Department for Communities, she said.

“I am delighted that, in response to those engagements, Sinn Féin Minister Deirdre Hargey has offered a substantial funding package to help to address the funding shortfall for the safety works of the reservoir in Creggan, even though the DfC has no responsibility whatsoever for the Creggan reservoir,” said Ms. Anderson.

Discussions between DC&SDC and DfI’s Rivers Agency are ongoing to address the rest of the funding shortfall, the Sinn Féin representative told MLAs.

She said reservoirs should be placed under the Department for Infrastructure’s responsibility.

“When we restructured the Departments, that is where it should have ended up in the first place.

“This will help not just in Derry but with other reservoirs that need attention in other constituencies.”

Ms Anderson said she hoped now Minister Mallon and DfI officials will work with the Rivers Agency and Derry City and Strabane District Council to urgently finance the remainder of the Creggan reservoir works, “so that that planning blight on a wide range of strategic projects in Derry, which have been delayed and derailed for far too long, can finally be removed”.

“I welcome the fact that we have finally got to this point here today,” the Derry politician added.