A new working group will tackle the scourge of fly-tipping in back lanes after members of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Environment and Regneration Committee agreed to the move this week.
The issue reared its ugly head after councillors were advised a request from Triax for financial assistance for a clean up in the Bogside, Brandywell, Creggan, Fountain and Bishop Street area had been withdrawn.
The withdrawal of the proposal, which had previously met resistance from some councillors, was brought out of confidential business at the committee’s meeting on Wednesday.
Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly asked for assurances that any future clean-up proposals would be put out to tender and open to all bidders.
SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney said he felt the Triax initiative “wasn’t bad” but was concerned it was confined to the Triax area” in The Moor District Electoral Area (DEA) alone.
He said: “It would be better if it was rolled out across the whole of Derry City & Strabane District Council.”
Colr. Tierney said he was aware of residents’ groups and groups like Teamworks NI, for instance, who were doing similar work but were not in receipt of direct council funding and that he was wary of “one group of ratepayers being favoured.”
He suggested a working group might look at a model similar to that used by the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) were clean-up funds would be accessible upon applciation in each DEA.
Independent Councillor Darren O’Reilly said he believed that merely cleaning up Mews Lanes was a “reactionary approach.
He said educative initiatives and the reclamation of public spaces by local communities was the way forward declaring himself impressed by the Enagh Youth Forum’s approach to the problem in Strathfoyle.
Independent Councillor Sean Carr agreed, saying he had participated in a clean up of one lane in The Moor area where two tonnes of waste was lifted two months ago.Two weeks ago a further 51 bags of rubbish were found in the same lane, he added.
Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell, a Triax development worker, said he had no problem with the establishment of working group to look at the issue.
“Mews Lanes have been a monkey on the back of this council,” he said. “No-one has tackled it. We’ve footered and tinkered with it. This was a pilot project to see if it worked. I’ve no issue with a working group but it needs to be tackled head on.”