PARK ‘EYESORE’

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

THERE is mounting pressure on Ballymoney Borough Council to take action on what was once considered the jewel in the crown of the town’s leisure facilities.

For the past two years it is claimed that Riverside Park has fallen into a state of disrepair with blown down trees not removed and the duck pond in such a sight that it no longer has any appeal.

The continual decline of the park as an attraction for locals and visitors has been the subject of much comment of late with letters to the Times reflecting growing concern.

One local man, Robert Anderson, said he was disgusted at seeing a once beautiful area reduced to an eyesore and wondered what was behind the apparent reluctance of the council to carry out a clean-up.

He said: “I had nothing but praise for the council when they paid attention to the Park, but now it’s all gone very badly. There are partly fallen trees over the river and the pond is terrible. I believe there are health and safety concerns which no one appears ready to address.”

Mr. Anderson says he and a number of friends regularly walk along the area and each week keep thinking that something will be done, but sadly for them, nothing.

“We keep expecting something to happen but we are always let down. The area is an overgrown mess and our councillors don’t want to know. I believe that if Iain McAfee had been allowed to take his place on the council, something would have been done.”

Mr. Anderson contrasted the Riverside Park with Drumaheagles claiming that the latter was a credit to the Council who kept it looking well.

“This is something that’s hard to understand, but the mess at the Riverside isn’t doing the reputation of the councillors any good,” he added.

It is understood that a number of complaints have been lodged directly with the Council and officials are known to be concerned.

The desilting of the lake at Riverside park was one of 24 amenities projects, totaling £7.7M, identified by council and placed before the leisure and amenities committee in October 2009 by the Director of Borough Services to review and prioritise, prior to the setting of the rates 2010/11.

The specific projects relating to Riverside park (2009 prices) included

· Upgrading of paths, phase - £80,000

· Repair of collapsed path - £119,000

· Lake de-silting. - £150,000

The repair and reinstatement of the collapsed path was the only riverside park project accepted as priority, being essential work.

This work, involving replacing the retaining wall and path which collapsed at Riverside Park, Ballymoney, on 19th April 2009. This work is complete and the path network is once again fully available to users.

Ballymoney council have previously carried out de-silting of the lake, but it is understood that this type of work is an ongoing exercise, probably requiring to be done after five years.

An alternative would be for Council to look at a proposed scheme to deal with the problem so that it would not happen again.