The proposed Knocknacarra Community Centre at Cappagh Park is welcome but more ambition in the plans and consultation with locals is needed according to councillors.
At Monday’s city council meeting, councillors were given a presentation on the developments at Cappagh Park which will finally lead to a community centre for Knocknacarra.
Phase one of the project has already been completed and this has provided dressing rooms for the area. Councillors heard that phase two will see the development of the community hall while phase three will see either a swimming pool or all-weather pitches. The total cost of the project will be more than €3 million.
All councillors welcomed the proposal and there were calls for the all-weather pitches to be given preference in phase three as Leisureland swimming pool is already in existence and is close to Knocknacarra.
In a statement to the Galway Advertiser, Fianna Fáil councillor Michael J Crowe said the project must include an all-weather playing facility as part of the development.
“I believe that an all-weather playing surface would be far more beneficial to the community than the swimming pool,” he said. “We have a public pool in Leisureland and it is currently under utilised. There seems little point in planning another one a few miles up the road especially at the enormous expense they are to construct.”
He said sporting organisations in the Knocknacarra want the all-weather pitches and he added that a number of them may be in a position to co-fund the project.
Fine Gael councillor Brian Walsh also welcomed the new centre but said he was “disappointed” that it was being done in three phases.
“The plan is not ambitious enough,” he told the meeting. “It should all be developed together. Building and construction prices are at rock bottom right now and we should avail of the costs. The people of Knocknacarra have waited long enough and developing it over three phases could see it all put on the long finger.”
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Walsh’s party colleague Cllr Hildegarde Naughton welcomed the new centre but stressed that consultation with local people was important.
“The design of the new community centre must give consideration to a wide range of community groups in the area,” she said. “A consultation process with local groups is an important step in designing a facility to meet the present and long term needs of the community.”
She said that the overall consensus of the local community was to build at Cappagh Park.
“This location has a good platform of infrastructure in place with existing drainage, lighting and parking,” she said, “and with the natural fall in the ground it will minimise the visual impact of the building.”