Funding still needs to be set aside at Stormont for the planned development of a sports complex in Dungiven, Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has said.
In the pipeline for the last four years, the project began with the former Limavady Borough Council with an initial estimated cost in the region of £7 million, including a pledge of £2.5 million funding from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL).
However, the project has been scaled back under the new Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, with plans to locate facilities on a ‘single-site’ at Curragh Road, with provision including a main hall, smaller halls, gym plus 3G facility, costing in excess of £2.5 million.
Now, however, Culture Minister Carál Ni Chuilín has said that while she remains “committed” to the project it is “subject to budget availability and the approval of a business case”.
East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden asked the Minister to “detail the funding availability for the development of a sports complex at Dungiven; and when the decision will be made on progressing this project”.
Ms Ní Chuilín replied: “I am committed to seeking to secure £2.5 million for the development of a community sports complex at Dungiven, as part of the City of Culture for the North West.
This commitment, like all major capital investment, is subject to budget availability and the approval of a business case which will include confirmation of any necessary partnership funding for the project.
“The Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has completed a consultation exercise on plans for sporting provision in Dungiven and is progressing with the development of a business case and detailed designs.
“Officials from DCAL and Sport NI continue to work closely with the Council to provide advice and support with regard to the business case.”
Ms Ní Chuilín was also asked by Claire Sugden “for an update on steps to achieve the Sport Matters commitment to ensure that 90 per cent of the population are within twenty minutes of quality accredited, multi-sports facilities by 2019; and whether her department is on course to meet this target.”
The Minister replied: “I can advise that the most recent annual Sport Matters progress report which was published in December 2014, indicated we were on track to achieve the target by 2019.
“However, the recent mid-term review of Sport Matters Strategy has recommended that this target should be amended to change from a time bound to a distance based target.
“In terms of future plans to further develop multi-sports facilities, I can confirm that Sport NI launched a new Sports Facility Fund on 18 May 2015 totalling £17.5 million Lottery funding which will be available for sports facility projects over the next five years.
“In addition, Sport NI is currently working with the 11 District Councils to develop a Facilities Strategy for the north of Ireland and 11 associated council area reports.”