William Street baths works in Derry to also look at disability access

Councillors have asked Council officers to look into disabled provision when essential works are being carried out at the City Baths.

There was a consensus of opinion that the facility was not ‘disabled friendly’ with a need to address the issue expressed by those representatives attending the November meeting of full council.

The matter was raised by councillor Maeve O’Neill who said: “I have been contacted by a local resident who has also been in touch with other councillors about the possibility of making the learners’ pool in the William Street baths accessible for children with disabilities.

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“Not in a way that it needs massive change but whenever the works are being done accessibility could be thought of in terms of the installation of a hoist and looking at the temperature the learners’ pool will be at and wheelchair accessibility as well.

A previous Swimathon event at the City Baths, William Street when it was open. DER1416MC034A previous Swimathon event at the City Baths, William Street when it was open. DER1416MC034
A previous Swimathon event at the City Baths, William Street when it was open. DER1416MC034

“I’m not sure if council are able to access different funds for improving accessibility in council buildings but it’s of utmost importance because children with disabilities need to be thought of because facilities for them are few and far between and it’s a failure of society if their needs are not met within our council facilities.”

Mayor, councillor Sandra Duffy agreed this was something that ‘definitely needed to be taken into consideration’.

SDLP councillor Brian Tierney added his voice saying: “ We are fully supportive of making it accessible, not only the learner pool, part of the problem with City Baths and I have pointed this out on a number of occasions, the whole facility is not disabled friendly and if we are going to look at the learner pool, we should maybe consider the entire facility. The big pool isn’t particularly disabled friendly and that is something we should also look at.”

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Chief Executive, John Kelpie confirmed council officers will look into the provision of disabled access at the baths.

People Before Profit Councillor Maeve O'Neill.People Before Profit Councillor Maeve O'Neill.
People Before Profit Councillor Maeve O'Neill.

Members of Derry City and Strabane council last month voted by majority to scrap a planned deferment and to proceed with appointing a contractor to refurbish the City Baths.

The move was proposed by Sinn Féin Councillor Emma McGinley, who spoke of difficulties faced by swimming clubs trying to maintain training, the limited public swimming time available locally and the increasing waiting lists for the Learn to Swim programme.

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter

William Street baths.William Street baths.
William Street baths.