Sinn Féin Councillor, Kathleen McGurk has welcomed the news that a contractor has been appointed to carry out the construction of Multi-Purpose Playing Surfaces at Foreglen and Feeny. The 2 schemes are part of the DAERA and Council match funded Village Renewal project which saw the communities put forward ideas for capital expenditure schemes they would like to see completed in their area within a Village Plan. Council officials then worked with the community through the planning, funding application and procurement stages.
Councillor McGurk said “it is fantastic to see these projects reach the appointment of contractors. It has been a long road to work out all the issues with the schemes to reach this point. The schemes have been quite complicated in terms of planning and legal requirements and to ensure the funding available would stretch to cover the works required. In some of these areas the lack of council owned land has presented issues, but I have to commend the community organisations which offered their own land and council officials who worked tirelessly to ensure the schemes were brought to fruition.”
Once contractors are in a position to return to work after the COVID-19 crisis, Cllr McGurk hopes to see the schemes completed before the end of the year.
Cllr McGurk is also hopeful to see a similar scheme completed in Dernaflaw, with an application made by council to DAERA for a 2nd wave of funding under the Village Renewal Scheme. DAERA are yet to confirm if the funding will be made available, but we are reasonably optimistic”. Deranflaw was not included in the first wave of funding as it was not considered a village under the council’s initial assessment of settlements with the area, However Cllr McGurk (a Dernaflaw native) requested council to re-examine after she was co-opted to council in September 2018. “This was one of my first actions at council, and a village plan was put into action early 2019. This paved the way to enable this application for funding to be submitted”.
Unfortunately, one scheme in Gortnaghey has not been able to progress due to both planning and legal issues. Cllr McGurk added, “It is very disappointing that the scheme in Gortnaghey could not be progressed further. It highlights to complicated nature of these schemes and shows the hard work that was undertaken to see the schemes on other areas finalised. However I am hopeful that the spade work undertaken by council officials could form the basis of an application for any future funding”.