Derry people are to be asked for their views on plans for to replace Templemore Sports Complex with a brand new sports centre.
Street surveys and online surveys are to be conducted in the city and district over the next month over the Council’s plans for both Templemore, and a second new leisure complex at Riverside in Strabane.
The Council’s Health and Community Committee was told on Thursday that a team led by Hamilton Architects LLP have been appointed to advance plans for the redevelopment of both new sports centres.
The project will include an Outline Business Case (OBC), which is expected to be complete by this summer. After this, planning application will be lodged for both projects.
A senior Council officer, in a report brought before the committee, stated: “A key component to the OBC development is consultation. This will inform the assessment of need for defined facilities and ensure the public, user groups and staff have an opportunity to contribute to the future of leisure provision.”
He confirmed that the online survey is available to members of the public from mid March to mid April.
He added that a “street survey facilitated by face to face survey collectors” using iPads will take place over the same period in shopping centres, bus and train stations and on the street of Derry city centre and Strabane town centre.
There will also be consultation events in both Templemore Sports Complex and Riverside to be held on consecutive days on March 27 and 28 with three sessions each day.
Senior officials from Derry City & Strabane District Council meanwhile will also engage with business, education and university, health and community groups concerning the plans.
The online survey will be made available through the Council website at www.derrystrabane.com
The officer said that the consultation approach and redevelopment plans “will support the objective, ‘to help people to develop and adopt healthy lifestyles through increasing participation in high quality leisure, sport and healthy living activity’.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Karina Carlin welcomed the progress on the projects, and said they were “an absolutely vital piece of our leisure offering for Strabane and Derry”.
“We are looking forward to hopefully a very bright future with regards to leisure provision,” Colr. Carlin added.
SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney also welcomed the progress, and said he looked forward to seeing the Templemore project ‘flying’ along and getting completed.
Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy said she too was “really excited to see it come to this stage”.
Colr. Duffy added: “Consultation is key to these things, We need to ensure the communities and service users will have their say.”
She also suggest the surveyors conducting the street surveys visit the likes of Northside Shopping Centre “right on the doorstep of Templemore”.
The officer said they were certainly open to this idea.