The delay in providing a much needed community centre in Ballinfoyle has been blasted as a “fiasco that continues to go on” by Cllr Ollie Crowe, who called on Galway City Council to make a firm committment to commence construction.
Speaking at a meeting of the council last week, Cllr Crowe told the executive: “On October 17, 2011, it was first tendered. It’s unacceptable to me. Money has been wasted on consultants. We’re now in 2014. Can you give a committment that the centre will be commenced?”
In response city manager Brendan McGrath explained that the tender process went back to the bidding stage last summer, that a preferred bidder has been found, and that funding is in place, however it is going through a very complicated Department of Finance process. The council are currently holding discussions with six specialist sub-contractors. Mr McGrath added that completion of the contract signing stage is “down to a matter of weeks as opposed to months” and “in two years time a worthy facility will be in place on the ground”.
Echoing Cllr Crowe’s concerns, Cllr Frank Fahy explained how the community in Ballinfoyle have been campaigning and waiting for the facility for 30 years. “I’m imploring you to pull out all the stops to sign the contract. The grandchildren of the campaigners will soon be moving out of the area,” said Cllr Fahy.
Questioning the vagueness of the answers received, Cllr Michael Crowe said: “In my opinion there are delays for something we are not being told about. This first went on tender three years ago, thousands were spent, then it was re-tendered and thousands more on consultants were spent again. This may be badly needed, but it has been badly handled. Someone here badly handled this from day one.”
Mr McGrath replied that the project is “in the middle of the procurement process” and the “only reason I am not giving all the information is because we are working through the process with the bidder”. He added that he is not prepared to diminish the specification of the building from what was tendered.
The current specification of the project, which is estimated in the region of €3.4 million, will include a community centre and a series of meeting rooms to be built on a site on the Headford Road.