Speaking to Causeway Coast Community this morning Councillor William McCandlesss said “Over the past few weeks I have been contacted by various people complaining about the state of the thoroughfare in the centre of Coleraine. There have been incidents of trips and falls and many near misses. Areas reported to me as having unsuitable surfaces are Church St. Society St. New Row and Stone Row.
Coleraine town centre was pedestrianised in the early 1980’s and what we have currently is a concrete manufactured brick pavia which is clearly not fit for purpose. The most recent pavia is nearly ten years old and the stresses and strains of delivery vehicles are clearly taking their toll. In essence, what we have in Coleraine is an inferior job compared to the public realm standard of work recently being carried out in Portrush. Another ideal is Londonderry city centre where the pavia is manufactured from Caithness Stone.
On Tue 18/12 I had a meeting with a senior officer in DFI Coleraine. He is extremely sympathetic to all those who have suffered falls and with the budgetary constraints he faces all he is able to do is ensure the thoroughfare is maintained in accordance with recognised Road Maintenance Standards for Safety. Basically, this means to repair where the defect is > 19mm or 3/4 inch.
In our ensuing discussion, I mentioned that this does not cater for MS sufferers who may experience coordination difficulties, the visually impaired, toddlers and young children or elderly who are unsteady on their feet. Consensus was reached thankfully and there is agreement that repairs will be undertaken early 2019.
The work will be for immediate removal of defects. It will not solve the problem however as that would necessitate a major programme of work.
The problem could be solved immediately by removal of the concrete brick pavia we currently have and replacing with asphalt – but that would not be aesthetically pleasing.
Whilst I welcome the action which will be taken to remedy the immediate problems the plan now which I will be discussing with our Party is to lobby the Dept. for Communities for a fit for purpose pavia for Coleraine. As the premier town in the Borough we are not being displayed at our best, one of the signs of a successful town or city is visible life on the streets.
It is vitally important that we have a safe pedestrian area for our residents and visitors to enjoy.”