A Culmore Community Partnership (CCP) request for Derry City & Strabane District Council assistance in setting up a base in Culmore Country Park won broad support in the Guildhall this week.
At a meeting of the council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee it was mandated that officers investigate the logistics of helping the CCP establish a permanent presence in a portable cabin next to the weighbridge in the former landfill site.
CCP chair Neil Doherty, recently wrote to Council Chief Executive John Kelpie to explain that an “ongoing issue for the [partnership] has been our lack of an office and point of contact for the public.”
Mr. Doherty suggested such a base would act equally as a hub for future community consultations; as a profile-raising home for the CCP; and as an important outreach office for the council. The CCP chair acknowledged, however, that the group did not have any money with which to further develop the proposal.
“I would also be grateful if you would consider how we might work together to come up with a creative imaginative approach to realising this proposal,” he wrote.
Council Environment and Regeneration chief Karen Phillips agreed to bring back a report on the costing of the proposal when committee members expressed support for it at a meeting this week.
Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan said: “In the next five to ten years one of the projects that will benefit the Culmore area will be a new community centre. In the interim, this proposal will meet the needs of the partnership.”
SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney said: “Anybody familiar with the community in Culmore is aware the lack of facilities in the area across all age groups is what you hear most.”
Colr. Hassan agreed that when canvassing in Culmore the common refrain is “there’s nothing for the elderly and nothing for the young people”, suggesting this would be a start in addressing the deficit.