WATCH: Derry residents urge departments to ‘work together for Strathfoyle Greenway’

Residents and groups in Strathfoyle have created a powerful video pleading with NI government departments to come together to fund the long awaited greenway extension to Strathfoyle.

By Brendan McDaid
Sunday, 28th June 2020, 6:33 pm

It is now eight years since the project was green lighted and since then Council has secured the various parcels of land necessary to facilitate the new walking and cycle route, which would link Strathfoyle to the city centre and Waterside greenway network.

Residents in Strathfoyle have spoken of the massive difference the long-awaited greenway will make to the lives of local people.

Local people of all ages, and representatives from community-based groups in the Strathfoyle and Maydown areas came together to create the video for the project, which is ready to proceed once the money arrives, Derry City & Strabane District Council (DCSDC) confirmed this week.

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Young Strathfoyle residents Ben Devine and Sean McCullough want to see the greenway realised.

In the video Paul Hughes from Enagh Youth Forum said: “The Strathfoyle Greenway is a 2.7km extension of the Waterside Greenway from Foyle Bridge to Stradowen Drive. It is on the Council’s capital list of projects and is listed on the Strategic Growth Plan.

“Local people in the community have been campaigning for this project since 2012, when it first secured planning permission and the steering group meet regularly to progress it. Over recent years DCSDC has worked hard to secure and purchase all of the lands required for this project.

“What the project now urgently needs is funding to make it happen and the local community, and people right across the city and North West, are asking the Departments of Infrastructure (DfI), Communities (DfC) and Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to now work together in the spirit of ‘New Decade, New Approach’ to fund the Strathfoyle Greenway.”

Alex Duffy, chair of Strathfoyle Community Association, said the project was vital. “My own view is that mental health is going to take a downward spiral because of the lockdown, anxiety, depression so now more than ever it is important.”

Strathfoyle residnet Louise Doherty.

Enagh Senior Group member Bridie O’Donnell said: “The Strathfoyle greenway would mean a lot for me and my family for our health and well being where we could go out for a walk together in safety. As for the two roads coming in and our of Strathfoyle, they are very unsafe and there’s a lot of traffic on them.”

Fellow Enagh Senior Group member Emma Doherty said: “I think this new greenway in Strathfoyle would be brilliant for there is nowhere for the older people to walk.”

Martin McCartney, chair of Maydown Community Association, said that when the greenway is built it will help improve fitness, and will enable people living closer to the city centre to access the beautiful countryside and what is on offer around Enagh Lough. “The sooner we get the money in place the better,” he said.

Reach Running Club member and Strathfoyle resident Debbie Dunne said the new greenway would be very beneficial as their club did a lot of training from Gransha grounds, while fellow resident Jordan Collins said a greenway would enable people to walk, run and cycle into the city centre and visa versa.

Enagh Youth Forum Junior Members looking forward to the Waterside Greenway extending out to Strathfoyle.

Resident Claire McGill said it was a fabulous opportunity for residents of Strathfoyle “to get some physical activity into their day; it’s great for mental health and socially we have a great community and this would help get them together.”

DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA said yesterday: “My officials in DAERA Rural Affairs Division remain in contact with representatives of the DfI, the DfC and DCSDC regarding the proposed development of the Strathfoyle Greenway Project.

“The proposed project is led by Derry City and Strabane District Council and it is my understanding that they are currently developing the Business Case for the project. As such the Council would be best placed to provide an update on project funding requirements and timescales.”

A spokesperson for the local Council said: “Council are currently exploring funding options for the Strathfoyle Greenway project. Once funding has been secured, timelines for the work will be agreed.”

Strathfoyle resident John Doherty is among those calling for funding for the greenway.