Playpark boost for Ballintoy - council to spend thousands

THERE has been a warm welcome from Moyle Councillors to news that Ballintoy will receive a major boost in recreational facilities.

A substantial investment could be on the way to create a new Community Recreation area on the site of the existing play park, according to Development Services director, Esther Mulholland.

It would mean a spend of tens of thousands of pounds which the council are more than happy to embrace given that a substantial contribution would be made by the Rural Development Porgramme Village Renewal Scheme.

In her presentation to councillors at last week’s meeting, Mrs. Mulholland said in October of lat year, the council had agreed in principle to take the lead on a kickabout area project for Ballintoy and also to provide match funding.

An application was submittedlast November and while the village scored highly, it did not make it through the assessment process since there was insufficient funds availab.e. They were, however, placed as first reserve village in the event of underspend.

A significant underspend on another project meant that Ballintoy were likely to be invited to apply for their project before the closing date of September 21.

Discussions ensued with local community and it was agreed that given that the play park was due to be resurfaced by the council it was more sensible to redevelop the site as a new Community Recreation Area, incorporating a kickabout area, new play park equipment with soft surfacing and seating/picnic area with interpretation panels.

All this would depend on the council agreeing to add to the budget of £24,000 set aside for soft surfacing to the Village Renewal budget of £83,000.

A meeting of Ballintoy Village Forum earlier this month and attended by representatives from seven local groups, agreed to support the council proceeding with the project.

The maximum grant available from the Village Renewal measure at 75% would e £62,500 and this would require a 25% match funding contribution of around £20,800 fron the coumci.

It was recommended that the council proceed with the scheme which prompted an immediate ‘rubber-stamp’ from the chair, Councillor Sandra Hunter, who proposed acceptance commenting that “Ballintoy had been waiting a long long time for this.”

Councillor Joan Baird joined the chorus of approval stating that Ballintoy was a mixed community with excellent examples of the community working together for the good of their citizens and for the good of the area.

“Children are currently playing football on the street and that isn’t good in the summer time or any time with the volume of traffic. I believe they would greatly profit from this new facility,” Councillor Baird said.

Councillor Cara McShane said the play park was always well used and the money the council received from the Game of Thrones filming in the area could be set aside to enchance the facilities.

Councillor Paudie McShane also welcomed the project and praised his council colleague, Cara McShane, for her efforts from 2005 in lobbying for improvements.

Councillor Sharon McKillop also welcomed the proposed development.