Concerns that the new €3.4 million Knocknacarra Community Centre will be taken over by a commercial operator have been allayed somewhat with community groups and local clubs now being given a six-week window to submit a business plan for the running and management of the facility.
The Galway City Council has this week invited community interest groups based in the Knocknacarra and Salthill area to submit their proposal to manage and operate the Knocknacarra Community Centre which opened in mid-2013. Community groups and local clubs have until 4pm on Friday, August 1, to submit a management proposal or business plan which must include a number of details including experience in provision of facility management, financial resources/capacity, staff expertise/resources, and proposed maintenance arrangements for the facility.
Director of services for housing and social inclusion, environment, recreation, and amenity, Thomas Connell, told councillors at Monday’s council meeting that the criteria has been set and that the council was “satisfied it is community friendly”.
The facility is currently being run by Galway City Council until permanent arrangements can be made. However, due to a shortage in staff the centre is only open five days a week, a situation which is “not sufficient” according to Mayor of Galway City and Knocknacarra based councillor Donal Lyons.
Cllr Lyons, who has been a long-time advocate of a community centre in Knocknacarra, told the Galway Advertiser that he welcomed the decision by chief executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, to seek community involvement and that he hoped a “community consortium” would come on board.
“Previously the city council sought interest from parties that excluded community groups as there had been a stipulation that any firm or company would have to have a yearly turnover of €100,000 to qualify. That was detrimental to community groups. I am delighted this has changed, and that community groups can, either individually or together, put in an expression of interest to run the facility. It is an opportunity for local people to get involved in the centre which is a tremendous asset,” said Cllr Lyons.
Interested parties can find further details on the Galway City Council website www.galwaycity.ie