All play parks to be ‘disability friendly’?

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Causeway Coast and Glens Council has agreed to ‘map out the need’ for 100 play parks to be upgraded and become ‘disability friendly’ areas.

The issue was raised at a Leisure and Development Committee when councillor Darryl Wilson proposed the motion: “That Council develop and implement a programme of works to ensure that facilities/apparatus for children with disabilities is installed in play parks across the entire borough with a view to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to share and enjoy local park facilities together.”

Director Richard Baker explained that Coleraine Borough Council had already carried out assessment continuing: “We are now mapping out the need and looking into disability friendly play parks in the 100 parks across the boroughs.”

The issue had previously been raised at the meeting by councillor Duddy following a proposal to use £70,000 from the Landfill Communities Fund to develop a new play park in Feeny, which had been agreed by Limavady Borough Council in 2014.

He explained: “This is a lot of money and not all play parks are coming out of this well. We need to look at their disability facilities as a whole. We should prioritize what work needs done and have an overview of each park. Loughgiel play park was raised once, there was talk of moving it from one area to another, and that was the last we heard of it.”

Following a question about funding, Patricia O’Brien, Funding Unit Manager revealed that £140,000 was in the pot and each quarter £27,000 was added. However she explained that the Landfill Communities Fund regulators were stipulating that the funding could “no longer be accumulated over 12 months”.

Members agreed to go ahead with the Feeny Park project rather than lose the money however called for further assessment on play parks throughout the Council area. Wendy McCullough, Head of Sport and Wellbeing explained that Ballymoney had carried out a play parks needs assessment.

Councillor Norman Hillis highlighted the “state of play parks in Portrush” adding: “The Deputy Mayor took me around Megaw Park and that’s something to be proud of. I hope we get something like that in Portrush.” Councillor Ian Stevenson outlined that Scally park could benefit from work while councillor Darryl Wilson concluded: “For two generations children in Ballymoney had no play parks but now they have Megaw Park which is a massive success and something Council can use as a shining example.”