Ballymagroarty community's patience 'wearing thin' over 3G pitch delay warn Derry reps

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The Ballymagroarty community are becoming increasingly frustrated over delays to the reopening of the 3G pitch in the estate, elected representatives in Derry have warned.

The issue was raised by SDLP Councillor Lilian Seenoi-Barr at Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Health & Community Committee meeting on Thursday under chairperson’s business.

Describing this issue as ‘important’, Colr. Seenoi-Barr told chair Colr. Brian Tierney and the other committee members:

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"I want to seek an update on the repair timeline on the Ballymagroarty 3G pitch. I think the ongoing problems surrounding this pitch, which unfortunately been non-operational for the past several months, is really bringing a lot of issues within the community.

The council advised work on the Ballymagroarty pitch is expected to commence within days.The council advised work on the Ballymagroarty pitch is expected to commence within days.
The council advised work on the Ballymagroarty pitch is expected to commence within days.

“The community’s patience is wearing thing and we just need an update on when the work will start and when we should expect it to be open.”

The pitch was closed for upgrade repair works back in April and and has yet to reopen.

Sinn Féin Colr. Conor Heaney concurred: “We have all, as local reps, been working hard on this issue for quite some time. It has been ridiculously long since this pitch needed repairing and it hasn’t been repaired, which is causing distress to the local organisation that does it because it is losing revenue all the time and the many many clubs that use this facility and haven’t been able to do it, and in fact they missed the Foyle Cup over this issue as well. So it has been running as long as that.

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"”The last update I had, and which I relayed to all the people involved, was that the work was to start a week ago because that is what I was assured and all this week nothing has happened and there is no contractor on site and people are really concerned again.”

SDLP Councillor Lilian Seenoi-Barr.SDLP Councillor Lilian Seenoi-Barr.
SDLP Councillor Lilian Seenoi-Barr.

Colr. Heaney said that since then he has received assurances the contractor will be on site within days and said he “hoped that that is the case”.

"This case needs resolved and needs resolved quickly,” he said.

People Before Profit Colr. Shaun Harkin said: “This has been very frustrating to follow, and mostly frustrating for the residents of Ballymagroarty and others who would use the facility. I got the impression it was going to be sorted out this summer and I am shocked it has dragged on this long.”

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He said a similar situation in Brooke Park previously was resolved very, very quickly.

"It is unacceptable it has taken this long…. I just do not understand it.”

DUP Alderman Niree McMorris also raised Newbuildings MUGA which she said has also been “closed for quite some time”, and sought assurances work would go ahead within days on this site as previously stated.

Derry & Strabane Council Head of Community & Leisure Barry O’Hagan said the latest information they had from colleagues in the Environment directorate was that the two contractors would be on site at both Ballymagroarty and Newbuildings the week commencing Monday, October 16.

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He said members would appreciate that the Ballymagroarty project had been a ‘complex one’ as liability issues had to be worked through. He said Council would let members and groups on the ground know when they had the exact days and dates for the work starting.