Local Councillors have welcomed funding to address issues with some of the facilities at Templemore Sports Complex.
The allocation of the funding was endorsed by Derry’s Health and Community Committee at its meeting in Strabane on Thursday night, and is now expected to be signed off by the Full Council at its monthly meeting in a fortnight.
Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly described the funding as a “positive development” for the many users of the Complex, adding that there were numerous problems with the current facilities.
He claimed that some of the changing facilities were in such a bad state that they “would remind you of conditions in parts of Crumlin Road Gaol”.
Sinn Féin Shantallow Councillor Elisha McCallion also welcomed the confirmation of the funding to carry out essential works.
Colr. McCallion said: “I have been lobbying Council for a number of years now to have an extensive redevelopment and upgrading of the Templemore Sports Complex.
“A number of months ago I again requested that Council make available sufficient funding to carry out necessary short-term works in anticipation of the major permanent redevelopment of the entire complex.
“I am delighted to confirm that Derry City and Strabane District Council has now allocated £120,000 to carry out the more immediate works that are required.
“Over the next few years I believe that we will see one of the most extensive developments at the Complex that has been witnessed in this City.
“In the meantime I welcome Council’s decision to carry out a much required makeover of these very popular facilities.”
Colr. Donnelly meanwhile listed a catalogue of problems with the current facilities.
He branded inadequate disabled changing facilities with pool access “unacceptable”. “Users with disabilities have to use the Health Suite which is not DDA compliant and Health Suite users have to be asked to leave whilst this happens,” he said.
He also said that the stream room was “frequently breaking down and sometimes taking one to two weeks to get up and running again, particularly if there’s a part and it has to be ordered and delivered”.
He said that this was leading to frustration by users, with parts of the building also suffering from leaks.
“If it gets really bad the fear is it could lead to the closure of the building.”
He added that there were complaints of irregular heating, either too hot or too cold, in the shower facilities.
He also said that the facilities were badly designed. “If there’s an issue with Male then it has to be dealt with by access from the Female in effect putting both shower rooms out of operation.”
Other points of concern raised by Colr. Donnelly include general disrepair, the reception area being badly laid out, and pool roof lighting is inadequate.
“Tiles in changing room are old, worn out, and discoloured, cleaned regularly but give the impression of being dirty due to age,” he said.
“The Complex is an old building, need painted and patched up particularly the changing area used for outdoor activities, an air of cold and damp with plaster and paint flaking and would remind you of conditions in parts of Crumlin Road Gaol.”
He claimed that these and other problems are leading to frustration amongst users and in some cases clients are being lost to private run establishments.
He said that he understood that the plan was to replace Templemore with a new fit for purpose building similar to what we have in the Foyle Arena hopefully in the near future, “which is long overdue given that Templemore was built in the 1970s”.
“However,” he said “we do have a duty of responsibility to those who currently use this facility to ensure that they enjoy a proper standard of leisure facilities in surroundings which are fit for purpose and therefore in this regard this proposed refurbishment is a positive development.”