Remedial work begins on St. Columb's Park running track

Remedial work has begun on the running track at St Columb’s Park following numerous complaints about its poor condition.

The damage at St. Columb's Park running track caused by heavy rainfall and heavy footfall.
The damage at St. Columb's Park running track caused by heavy rainfall and heavy footfall.

Members of the Health and Community Committee were informed that maintenance work had begun. However, they were warned that regardless of the work carried out by council, the position of the track and the fact it was a shale composition, water will continue to pool during periods of heavy rain. SDLP councillor Sean Mooney raised the matter at the September meeting asking for a paper to be brought to the committee outlining measures that will be taken to address the poor condition of the track.

“Since the Waterside Half Marathon there have been a lot of comments made about the track and this is where the Half Marathon finished,” he said. “It was badly cut up and it was in extremely bad condition. I have been using the facility for a number of years, as have other members of the community, and it’s one of those essential items in the Waterside and city. The condition of the surface has deteriorated to an unacceptable standard. Consideration must be given to restore the surface of the track to an acceptable standard.”

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Head of Community and Leisure, Barry O’Hagan responded: “We are aware of recent ongoing issues. There were other issues with the track going back a number of months. The drains have been cleared and cleaned this week. As part of our maintenance schedule we are bringing in additional stone to cover the low parts of the track where water normally pools.

“We’ve also added an additionally monthly inspection to include Clooney Park West where we have similar issues on the grass pitch.

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“We have identified some maintenance spend in the region of £4,000 to £5,000 within existing budgets which will help it but it won’t stop water pooling. We have costed what a major scheme would look like and its hundreds of thousands. We do have this project added to the capital list but we do have a moratorium in terms of spend at present in terms of capital projects.”

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Sinn Féin councillor Christopher Jackson described the track as ‘not fit for purpose’ adding: “The condition has deteriorated over time and the track itself has been in place for a considerable time. Runners have said it is so bad they have no option but to use the grounds of a nearby hospital and from a council perspective that is unacceptable.

“I welcome the fact that there is maintenance work planned to address some of the issues in the interim but we need to acknowledge that the wider scheme may be a necessity.”