A proposal for long term investment in Belfast’s parks and public and open spaces has been given full support by Belfast City Council.

The proposal, which was put forward by Green Party Deputy Leader, Councillor Mal O’Hara, and agreed to by all parties on Tuesday will aim to enhance areas of North Belfast which are in need of improvements.

Speaking on the proposal, Councillor O’Hara said:

“I am delighted that all parties have voiced support for our proposal tonight.” 

“One of the few positives that came out of the pandemic lockdowns, is that many people really valued our public and open spaces in the city. In North Belfast we have great parks such as The Waterworks, Cavehill, Ballysillan, Alexander, Grove and Giants parks. However, the investment and development of them is piecemeal or limited. We also have limited public space such as Writer’s Square which is currently under threat from the Tribeca development.

Our motion calls for council to adopt a similar investment like that undertaken with leisure transformation over the last decade. We want to see significant investment into our parks, public and open spaces. We want these to be areas that are properly utilised by all members of the community, spaces which can avert the biodiversity crises, spaces to create jobs and spaces where people can relax and enjoy themselves.” 

Councillor O’Hara pointed out a specific example of the failure to provide facilities was evident in the lack of toilets or indoor spaces in the Waterworks park. Mr O’Hara called on funding to be brought forward to further develop the Waterworks, and to get the local community involved.

Speaking on the suggestions of local residents, Mal O’Hara said:

“Residents ideas have included; toilet facilities, a café space, better use of green lawns for planting and wildflowers, allotments, improved signage, maintaining the entrance gates, improved water quality in the lakes, a dog track and increase in space for leisure. We also need a much better standard of cleaning and maintenance.”