Templemore Sports Complex.
Plans to redevelop Derry's outdated Templemore Sports Complex have been 'sitting on the shelf for far too long’, a local councillor has said.
The comments by Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy come as the local council insists progress is being made and work is ongoing to source funding.
The Buncrana Road facility was built in the 1970s. Local representatives and the general public are eager to see facilities upgraded.
In a report presented to councillors last year, Templemore Sports Complex was described as a key strategic project.
It is expected to cost between £50m - £60m.
One of the ‘key challenges’ identified was said to be a significant shortage of external funding.
High operational costs and the cost of loan repayments were also cited as barriers.
Previously, a report was requested to identify all the funding options available and provide a timetable towards completion so that the council can consider its options.
According to council documents, the design, planning and tender process for the project will take approximately two and a half to three years with a similar period for subsequent construction on site.
Plans to redevelop the site have been in the pipeline for many years.
Sinn Féin councillor for the Ballyarnett area Sandra Duffy was elected to Derry City & Strabane District Council in 2014 and she said the project was on the agenda years before the old Derry City and Strabane councils were amalgamated.
It has been ‘sitting on the shelf for far too long’, she explained, and there is an expectation from the public that it should be delivered.
Cllr Duffy added: “It’s a flagship, key, strategic leisure project for the city and district.
“Our view is that it needs to be delivered soon, but we need to be realistic in terms of funding.
“We had a recent meeting to look at the capital projects and it’s my understanding that council officers are going away now to look at how we fund and deliver these key projects.
“But Templemore remains one of the priorities for us as a party.”
Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle reflected those comments saying Templemore remains a priority for the city and is at the top of capital plans.
“I’ve questioned officers about the funding mix required and the timeframe for delivery.
“At a capital working group recently Aontú requested detailed project plans to monitor it’s progress and we will continue to push for the next stage of the project to start ASAP,” he said.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Derry City & Strabane District Council confirmed that plans for a ‘regionally significant leisure attraction’ at the Templemore Sport Complex site are ‘continuing to progress’.
A full design team has been appointed to the project which has moved the scheme to design and costing stage.
She continued: “The team are continuing to work to identify the significant funding required to ensure this ambitious and exciting development can be fully delivered before advancing to public consultation and the next stage of design development.
“The Templemore project is a key strategic priority for Council as part of its commitment to delivering state of the art leisure facilities to enhance health and wellbeing for the people of Derry and Strabane as set out in the Strategic Growth Plan for the City and District.
“Attracting visitors to the North West through the development of a premiere tourism and leisure attraction with a unique offering for visitors is a key priority for Council.”
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