Storm Ophelia: Council shuts up shop as Derry hunkers down

Image from National Hurricane Centre
Image from National Hurricane Centre

All of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s leisure centres, parks, open spaces, cemeteries and recycling centres have been closed in the interests of health and safety as the North West hunkers down for Storm Ophelia.

The city’s parks will remain closed for inspections early tomorrow, while bin collections have also been suspended.

A spokesperson for the council confirmed the closure of all civic facilities from 3 p.m. on Monday.

“Officials reconvened to meet this afternoon and decided to close all of its facilities including the leisure centres, play parks, public parks, museums and civic offices however reassurances have been given to the public that staff and contractors are on standby and provisions put into place to reopen any facilities or buildings that are needed.

“Cemeteries were open for a period earlier today to facilitate funerals but have now closed, as are all recycling centres, while street cleansing and refuse collections have been suspended for the rest of the day.

“Council officials are in regular contact with their multi-agency partners throughout the duration of the alert to assess the situation and the Council has also engaged with community organisations in relation to initiating their community resilience plans where necessary,” the spokesperson said.

The local authority advised a reserve of sandbags will be made available via the Department of Infrastructure for any householders affected by flooding.

“With regard to sandbag provision, the Council has been informed by the Department for Infrastructure that they have stocks that can be deployed where there is a risk to significant damage to property from flooding and to redirect members of the public to report any incidents by using the Flooding incident line at 0300 2000 100.

“Council is also advising the public that it expects some disruption to its services tomorrow and that all of our public outdoor spaces including parks and play areas will remain closed for a period in the morning to allow for inspection and assessment. Further updates on this will be provided tomorrow,” the spokesperson said.

Members of the public seeking updated information are urged to use the NI Direct website at www.nidirectni.gov.uk.

Road users are being advised to regularly check the Traffic Watch NI in relation to road closures and not to make any unnecessary journeys. - www.trafficwatchni.com
Council will continue to monitor and review its services and will provide regular updates on its website, Facebook and Twitter platforms throughout the evening and tomorrow.