The Head of Community Development and Leisure presented the above report, previously circulated to Members for information. The purpose of the report was to update Members on the current position on the Council’s Playing Pitch Strategy.
Alderman Hussey outlined issues contained within the report which he stated, needed to be addressed. He referred to 2.4 ‘Prioritising key facility developments in relation to play pitches and support ancillary services has now been produced’, and stated that it did not include the potential for development of Council’s existing facilities particularly at Spamount and Castlederg. He stated that Council had fantastic sports facilities which could be further enhanced with the installation of lighting. He asked that a report be brought forward regarding the provision of lights at pitches within Council’s remit. He referred to the 7 percent surplus for the provision of pitches throughout the Council area and noted that it was much lower compared to other Council areas, particularly regarding association football. He referred to the lack of provision for hockey and rugby within the Sperrin and Derg DEAs. He stated that Strabane once had a vibrant men’s hockey team and felt that more encouragement to develop hockey and rugby needs was required.
The Chair informed Alderman Hussey that a report would be brought forward as requested.
Alderman Thompson welcomed the report, however he felt that more detail was required. He referred to a recommendation that a capital investment programme for sports clubs be established to recognise sports facility providers, and stated that there was no indication on how to proceed with same. He referred to aspirations within the strategy and stated that more in depth information was required on how these would progress particularly at Donemana Pitch and Clooney Park West Playing Fields. He also referred to a hockey project for Strabane Academy and asked if any discussions had taken place regarding securing support from Council.
The Chair reminded Members that the report had been approved at a previous Committee meeting prior to planned consultation and that further updates would be provided.
The Head of Community Development and Leisure welcomed Members comments and stated that the projects within the survey and strategy had not received funding apart from those agreed at the Capital Working Group. He stated that a detailed report on how Council would deliver on the action plan would be presented at a future meeting of Committee. He advised that the purpose of the report was in regard to a specific query arising from the previous presentation provided by the consultancy team that had not been considered. He stated that officers, would be carrying out a similar exercise with private clubs throughout the City and District to be included in the action plan for consideration by the Senior Leadership Team, Capital Working Group and subsequently through the Health and Community Committee. He stated that the Committee would then consider proposals regarding the delivery of the strategy and action plan and also address the shortfall and the relevant funding.
In response, to a query from Alderman Hussey regarding the consultation process, the Head of Community Development and Leisure stated that an update on the consultation process would be included in the further report requested.
Councillor Tierney stated that whilst he appreciated the tremendous amount of work involved, he stated that he had been regularly contacted by constituents regarding progress at Culmore Playing Fields and Ballyarnett Park. He asked that the report be brought as soon as possible in order to give assurance that progress was happening.
Recommended that Members note the current position regarding the playing pitch report with officers to continue to engage with clubs who own their facilities to produce an additional appendix to the Strategy specific for privately owned facilities and that a further detailed report be provided.