JDLC gets 3G pitch go ahead

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BALLYMONEY is to get a new 3G pitch at Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre thanks to £350,000 from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and £100,000 Council funding.

During last Tuesday’s meeting, members heard that Council had secured DCAL funding for the development of a multi- sport facility in the borough and, following a study on the best location for the pitch, the greatest need was in Ballymoney, Coleraine and the Glens areas.

However due to the urgent nature of the funding application, within the Financial Year 2016/17, the Director of Leisure and Development Committee advised that the ideal venue would be on Council land “as time is too short to complete purchase or lease of 3rd party land and then complete the construction within the year as required”.

Recommending Armoy, Portrush and Ballymoney areas, Richard Baker explained: “Provision of a 3G pitch at Riada is on Council’s 2016/17 Capital Programme but the Business Case for the project has not yet been completed. Provision of a synthetic pitch in Portrush and upgrade of Council’s Armoy Rugby Club facilities are being considered for the 2017/18 Programme but these projects could be accelerated.” However it was concluded that the Ballymoney facility was “the most deliverable in the currently timescale”.

Praising the decision Deputy Mayor councillor Darryl Wilson said: “I have been approached by numerous sports clubs in Ballymoney highlighting the demand for 3G facilities. Teams often have to avail of private 3G facilities or travel outside of the Borough.”

However some councillors expressed their disappointment and questioned the options available to develop facilities in other areas like the Glens, Ballycastle, Portstewart and Portrush,

Alderman Maura Hickey expressed her anger stating: “I am surprised there hasn’t been more research into Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine. I propose an amendment that we should explore other possibilities. There is ample time left. I am amazed this is in such a rush to get through. I am not happy about it.”

Mr Baker also explained that Riada Playing Fields would require less changing facilities and therefore could be completed with the budget restraints.

* It was also revealed that within Council’s Sport Facility Strategy, the Borough has a widespread deficit of pitches other than in the limavady, Ballykelly and Greysteel vicinity.