West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Carlin lobbying for play/recreation provision west of the by-pass

Published: 16 January, 2013

Strabane Sinn Féin Councillor Karina Carlin is lobbying within the local Council for play/recreation provision in what she describes as the area of the town most densely populated with children and teenagers yet totally bereft of such facilities.

She said,

"On the western side of the 'by-pass' we have major residential developments including: Castlegrange Park; Carricklynn Avenue; Jefferson Court; Summerhill Court; Castletown Court; Glenfinn Park; Ashbrook; Ferndale, Orandale etc where we have by far the largest concentration of children and young teenagers in the town but absolutely no play or recreation facilities for them to avail of.

"The busy by-pass is a major barrier to them being able to access existing play and recreation facilities elsewhere in other areas of the town given the inherent dangers involved.

"As a result we have large numbers of young people congregating in an around these developments and at times this becomes a source of complaint in terms of low level anti-social behaviour. However, the number one issue for families is the lack of facilities for their youngsters in these areas and there is wide recognition that the provision of much-needed facilities would alleviate much of this problem.

"The obstacles standing in the way of securing these much-needed facilities is two-fold. Firstly is the problem that the private developments in these areas fall outside the existing Urban Renewal Areas in the town and therefore do not meet the qualifying criteria for grant support for such community/social infrastructure. Secondly has been the problem of identifying suitable and available sites.

"So at the Department of Culture Arts & Leisure Working Group of Council on Wednesday afternoon last, I asked officials to once again look at this issue and as a first step to liaise with Land and Property Services and ask that it undertakes an audit of all available sites/strips of land in and around these developments that possibly could be utilized for play/recreation purposes. Secondly, I asked officials to establish if any stream of Council funding could be utilized towards this much needed provision.

I acknowledge the goodwill that exists among my council colleagues to also progress this issue and I will be keeping it firmly on the agenda in the time ahead."