The local council is to look at linking Derry City and Strabane with its mountainous hinterland as part of a pioneering new Green Infrastructure Plan.
The suggestion to connect both the city and town to the Sperrins was made by Sinn Fein Councillor Dan Kelly at a meeting of Council’s Environment & Regeneration Committee.
SDLP Colr. Gus Hastings, meanwhile, said the more outdoor recreational sites, the better the chances of combating obesity in children.
Biodiversity Officer, Julie Hannaway, presented a new report on green infrastructure which, she said, involved urban and rural natural and man made green spaces, which provides “multiple environmental, economic, health and social benefits”, as well as tourism opportunities.“It’s a very new idea,” she said.
The committee backed plans for the project, which is the first of its kind in the North, and which will involve collecting data on existing green spaces and setting up a stakeholders forum to help prepare the plan.
Colr. Hastings said: “This is very much a ‘win, win’ for us as a community. The more parks we build the less obesity in our children which is a major problem at this time. And if children go to parks, their parents go with them.”
Colr. Kelly said: “We are already blessed with a huge amount of green areas. “It is important we think about that open vast mountain terrain we have and how we make that accessible to people.
“We don’t have a project in the Sperrins linking to Strabane and Derry. We have the largest population base on the fringe of the Sperrins with nothing really to draw it in.”