Public consultation on Fort George welcomed

Northland Sinn Féin councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the announcement of a public consultation on the decontamination process of the Fort George site.

Colr. Cooper said the move would be welcomed by residents of Garden City who had previously raised concerns about the length of time the decontamination was taking.

He also called on urban regeneration firm Ilex to ensure that a full consultation is carried so that the residents of Garden City are kept up to date with any developments.

The decontamination process has been hit by several delays but experts have now insisted it will be complete by early 2014.

Discussing the matter, the colr. said; “A number of months ago I raised the concerns of residents of Garden City who contacted me to voice their worries about the length of time the decontamination process of lands at Fort George was taking and if there are any potential health risks for people living in the area.

“There was also the concern of what effect the delay could have for potential investors in the site which is seen as a key location for the rolling out of digital economy projects aligned with the new regeneration plan, Science Park and Project Kelvin.”

Colr. Cooper said the public consultation is expected to take place next month.

“I have now been informed that Ilex and Whyte Young Green have engaged with the relevant regulatory departments - NI Environment Agency and Derry City Council Environmental Health Department - to ensure all investigations and assessments were undertaken to current guidance and best practice and meet their requirements for the proposed re-development of Fort George.

“I welcome the fact that a public consultation will now be taking place in October. It’s very important that ILEX ensures that this consultation continues throughout the lifetime of the decontamination project and that residents in Garden City and the surrounding area are kept fully up to date.”

Decontamination is necessary at the former British military site because of the presence of a number of contaminants, including heavy metals, lead and arsenic, hydrocarbons, and other materials associated with fuel spillages and leaks. Japanese knotweed has also been discovered at the site.

A state-of-the-art cross border science park, a satellite of the Northern Ireland Science Park at the Titanic Quarter, Belfast, is planned for the Fort George Site.