Storm Ophelia: Council to close St. Columb's Park

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Derry City and Strabane District Council to CLOSE St. Columb's Park on Monday

The decision comes after the Met Office issued Derry and other parts of the North with an amber status severe weather warning.

The warning prompted Derry City and Strabane District Council to initiate its Emergency Preparedness Response on Sunday afternoon after meetings with its internal team and the Western Emergency Preparedness Group, which has representatives from all the statutory support agencies, to set in place plans to provide advice, reassurance and support to the public ahead of the adverse weather conditions.

Council has decided to close St Columb's Park in Derry and Claudy Country Park from 12 noon on Monday as a precautionary measure and has urged the public to be cautious when walking in any wooded, tree populated ares or outdoor spaces.

The public are being advised not to leave bins or food waste caddies out where they could cause an obstruction or be blown out on to roads and to expect some disruption to refuse collections on Monday and into Tuesday.

Arrangements are being put into place to provide rest centres should they be needed and officials are in contact with community organisations to initiate their community resilience plans if necessary.

Road users are being advised to check Traffic Watch NI in relation to road closures and not to make any unnecessary journeys.

Council will continue to monitor and review its services and will provide regular updates on any closures or impact to services.

Urging the public to be cautious and to take the appropriate steps to ensure they keep safe and secure their properties in advance of the high winds predicted for Monday afternoon, Council Chief Executive John Kelpie says the onus is on everyone to work together to reduce the risk of injury to the pubic and damage to property.

He urged people to follow the advice provided by the multi agencies in relation to Emergency preparedness and assured the public that agencies are working in a proactive and collaborative manner to have adequate provisions and staff in place to deal with issues that may result from the storm.

In addition to the meetings that took place earlier today, a further meeting of the multi- agencies is taking place later this evening and first thing on Monday morning to regularly review the situation and make the appropriate decisions.

For all information and advice on preparing for strong winds and to get details of all the agencies and emergency numbers should you be affected by the weather tomorrow, visit NI Direct at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/news/strong-winds-warning-power-and-travel-advice