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Joint Open Letter to SP&R Committee from the Albert Basin Park Stakeholders Forum members

Dear Councillors,

As key stakeholders in the Albert Basin Park project, we would like to highlight a number of concerns regarding the recent presentation by TetraTech to the Stakeholder Forum.

Given the huge public support for this project, its importance for the health and wellbeing of Newry people, and the fact that the council originally committed to delivering the park by May 2023, we find it unacceptable that the proposed plan will not be completed until 2029 at the earliest. It is hard to understand why, almost four years after the council was instructed to build a new city park on the Albert Basin, there is still no timeline for delivery of this project.

In order to address our concerns, and those of the wider community, we are asking you to reject the draft eight year Programme and instruct the council to come back with a plan for delivery in this term as was originally promised. 

This plan should include a pop-up park and a play park in Phase One. We note that independent consultants have recommended a concurrent “Design and Build” procurement route as the fastest and most cost-effective way to deliver this project.

Finally, the vision of a “world class park” that was demanded by the community and promised by political parties must also be respected. The proposed design does not currently meet that standard as it is missing a number of key features identified by the community consultation, including a marina and an iconic lifting bridge over the canal. These elements should be reinstated in order to ensure that the high quality project that was originally promised is ultimately delivered.

Regards,


Brian Cleland, Newry 2020

Colum Sands, Rostrevor Action Respecting the Environment

Columba O’Hare, Newry.ie

Davy Hyland, Former Newry Councillor

Debbie Brennan, Young People’s Representative

Fiona McAlinden, Our Lady’s Grammar School

Francis Gallagher, Daisy Hill Action Group

Gerry Brennan, Silvery Light Sailing

Grainne Powell Sticky Fingers Arts

Helena Young, Newry Maritime Association

James McAreavey, Newry Maritime Association

James McConville, Albert Basin Park Project

Maurice McConville, Newry Urban Sports

Oliver McGauley, Newry Coarse Fish Angling Club

Raymond Jackson, Confederation of Community Groups

Shirley Forshaw, Newry GP

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