Council leisure chief Noel Munnis says a new £12.7m centre of excellence for climbing, wrestling and judo in the Waterside is more than just a sports centre, it’s a tourist attraction.
Mr Munnis was speaking ahead of the new Foyle Arena and St Columb’s Park Sports Centre’s opening to the public on Monday (April 27).
The Council chief said a quarter-of-a-million pound investment in a state-of-the-art indoor climbing wall had already attracted huge interest amongst that sports fraternity all over Britain and Ireland.
He also promised a planned investment of over £20m at the Templemore leisure centre in the north of the city will have a similarly unique selling point, suggesting a ski slope or surf facilities may be on the cards.
“All of our leisure centres going forward will have something exceptionally unique and really cool about them,” he said.
“That’s the way you build leisure centres, something that’s regionally or nationally significant.”
Mr Munnis says people will travel from far and wide to use the St Columb’s Park facilities.
“Anybody in Northern Ireland who wants to climb, they are coming to Derry,” he said.
“It is unique, people will travel to Derry, this is a tourist attraction.
“People will come to Derry, just to use this. This will put people in hotel beds.”
He also said that planned new investments across the river at Templemore and at Riversdale in Strabane will be similarly impressive.
“Investment in Templemore opens up opportunities for a real snow, indoor ski slope or a surf basin or something like that, which would be a really good leisure centre, like this one, but with something unique to it and this is the unique feature for St Columb’s Park and the arena.”