Sports facility holiday review

SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack.
SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack.

A review is under way into the opening hours of Council-run leisure centres in Derry during public holidays following concerns raised.

Derry City & Strabane District Council has confirmed it will bring forward a report in response to issues raised by SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack.

Colr. Cusack has called on senior council officials to review Bank Holiday opening time arrangements for Templemore Sports Complex on the cityside and Foyle Arena in the Waterside in particular.

Colr. Cusack said: “I have received numerous requests from the public regarding the reason and rationale behind either of these facilities being closed on the majority of Bank Holidays, when people claim they most want to use them.

“This was particularly brought to light in May by council’s Bank Holiday circular which showed all of Strabane’s leisure centres open on these days, but not Derry.

“Currently the council operates a policy which alternates the opening of either Templemore or the Foyle Arena annually.

“I have requested this be reviewed as soon as possible as these holidays are an ideal time for individuals and families to enjoy the facilities they actually pay for.

“I do not think it’s reasonable for a family from the cityside, for example, to be expected to travel to the Waterside and vice versa, when they possibly have centres on their doorsteps. We must also consider the feasibility of this journey for many.”

Colr. Cusack said that as a council they should be doing all they can to encourage and facilitate the public in pursuing healthy and active lifestyles, with many schemes developed to do just that.

“It therefore makes sense that we adapt to the needs of the public and be receptive to any suggestion which encourages more users into our centres,” she said.

The council has confirmed that it is looking into the concerns raised by Councillor Cusack.

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said that it currently operates legacy council arrangements on Bank Holidays.

“Following the representation by Colr Cusack last month,” the spokesperson added, “officers are currently preparing a paper to review these bank holiday opening hours and the impact that any changes to these arrangements may have, particularly on budgetary and staffing requirements.

“A full report will be brought before a future meeting of members for consideration.”