12/06/2024

Views Sought On Redevelopment Of Riverdale Leisure Centre

Derry City and Strabane District Council has launched an extensive public and user engagement process about the proposed redevelopment of the Riversdale Leisure Centre.

The Council will fund this leisure investment, which is a crucial element of its broader vision for the strategic development and revitalisation of Strabane Town Centre. This vision is part of the planned and funded initiatives under the City Deal/Inclusive Future Fund.

Recognising the aging condition of the current facility, the Council initiated plans to redevelop the Riversdale Leisure Centre. A thorough site selection process ensued, accompanied by a detailed needs analysis. These efforts aimed to formulate initial proposals for modern leisure facilities, integral to the broader co-location strategy for key public services in the town centre's canal basin area.

Back in September 2017 Council appointed a multi-disciplinary team to take forward plans for the redevelopment of the Riversdale Leisure Centre that included an extensive consultation, design, business case development, planning and project management. However, due to the pandemic in 2020 the project was temporarily put on hold. As part of the recent 2024/25 Rates Process, elected members gave their approval of funding to progress with the project design phase of the project. To take the project further the Council is now re-engaging with public and the sports community to ensure the project meets the current needs of the local sports fraternity.

Encouraging everyone to get involved, Barry O'Hagan, Derry City and Strabane District Council's Head of Community Development and Leisure said that it's important that all user groups and the local community in Strabane get actively involved in this exciting regeneration leisure project.
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He said: "This new strategic leisure facility for Strabane has been identified as a priority in both Council’s Strategic Growth Plan and the Local Growth Plan. It is an integral component of Council’s wider vision for the strategic development and regeneration of Strabane Town Centre that is planned through City Deal. The new facility in this location will make it more accessible to the local community as it is within walking distance from most areas of the town and adjacent to our greenway infrastructure and within walking distance to the existing bus station and the new Riverine project.

"There will be a very strong focus on sustainability and physical activity with enhanced wet side and dry side facilities. Climate Change mitigation and sustainability are key considerations in this project, with a focus towards net-zero design principles to align with Council’s Climate Pledge. The proposed swimming pool will have increased water capacity with a viewing gallery and a significantly larger training pool. It is anticipated that this state-of-the-art facility will be form part of a wider health hub offering a range of physical activities to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community. In addition to talking to our local sports clubs and user groups, we are hoping to get as much feedback as possible from the wider public."

Barry O'Hagan stated that the forthcoming steps will entail the Council crafting design proposals in the following months. Subsequently, another consultation will be conducted before submission to the planning authorities.

Next week, engagement events are set to offer interested parties an overview of the project and details about the proposed location, facilities, and services. Feedback from these sessions will guide the project's progression. Updates have also been shared with elected members, staff and key stakeholders.

The public information sessions are being held as follows:

Wednesday 19 June

• 10am to 12noon at the Riversdale Leisure Centre

• 2pm to 4pm at Melvin Sports Complex

• 6pm - 9pm at the Alley Theatre

Thursday 20 June

• 10 am to 12 noon at the Riversale Leisure Centre

• 2pm to 4pm at Melvin Sports Complex

• 6pm to 9pm at the Alley Theatre.

Drawings, outline designs, and images will be accessible during the information sessions, with Council officers present to address inquiries. For those unable to attend these sessions, an online questionnaire will be accessible through the Council’s Have Your Say online portal.

The online questionnaire will be accessible starting Tuesday 18 June at 12 noon. It will remain available throughout the summer until the end of August, providing ample time for everyone to contribute their feedback.

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