There was a warm welcome today for proposals presented to members of Derry City and Strabane District Council for £1.892m to be channelled into a range of local capital development projects across the City and District.
Members of the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee heard that rural areas in particular are set to benefit from the funding, which has been earmarked by Council following further savings recorded in Council's six-month financial outturn summary.
Lead Finance Officer Alfie Dallas, told the committee that the investment is part of a very ambitious capital plan which Council is delivering as part of its overall Strategic Inclusive Growth Plan.
“I am delighted to highlight the latest progress that is being made in the delivery of our Capital Development Programme,” he announced. “The programme forms a very critical part of our Strategic Inclusive Growth plan, and we are forging ahead with the delivery of the strategic projects which have been identified as critical in achieving the long-term positive transformation of our Council area.
“£511,000 has been allocated to a number of projects across rural areas alone which is significant and which demonstrates Council’s commitment to developing rural areas based on the services and infrastructural needs highlighted by those living in those communities.
“This latest decision brings to over £130m the total which Council has invested and planned since the new Council began in 2015, a substantial portfolio which sets us well on track in our plans to improve infrastructure and community resources right across the Council area.”
Greenways, playparks and community centres are among the key projects to benefit from the funding boost, improving leisure and community provision in a number of local areas. Several projects under the Rural Development Programme will also benefit significantly including a number of Cooperation Projects, Sion Mills Play Park, and New Buildings Community Centre Pitches. £82,133 was also allocated to fund eight capital projects under Village Renewal.
Welcoming the news Chairperson of the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee, Cllr Cus Hastings, said: “I am delighted to see so many capital projects benefitting from this support, especially projects in rural areas where smaller communities can struggle to fund the vital projects they need to deliver positive change. This is a good news day for our city and region addressing what’s needed. Our officers have gone out and properly assessed what we need in our city and district and this report really reflects those needs.”
Among other projects highlighted, is £300k funding to be allocated for the development of the Visit Derry offices, in keeping with Council’s aims to boost the local tourism industry.
Committee members also welcomed news at today’s meeting that Council is reporting a surplus of £587k for the first six months of the financial year, which will be used to deliver further capital projects to benefit the City and District.