Elected members of the Castlebar Municipal District are to consider a new report at their monthly meeting on Monday from a senior executive officer of Mayo County Council on the Kiltimagh playground issue.
The issue has come to the fore again after a group of local parents, calling themselves KAP (Kiltimagh Amenity Park ), launched a new campaign to secure free play facilities and a multi use games area for the town.
Mayo County Council has developed some 40 free playgrounds across the county but no such facility in Kiltimagh.
The only play facility for children in the town is a playground developed by Kiltimagh IRD, which charges children a €3 entry fee.
In the new report on the matter, Padraic Flanagan, senior executive officer with Mayo County Council, outlines three options for the elected members of Castlebar Municipal District to consider.
The first option involves Mayo County Council paying Kiltimagh IRD a sum of €12,000 per annum to make the existing, playground available free of charge to the public.
The playground will still be managed and operated by Kiltimagh IRD but Mayo County Council will provide public liability insurance.
The second option is for Mayo County Council to develop a new playground in the town at a cost of €200,000 on a suitable greenfield site. This project would take an estimated two years to complete.
The third option is a combination of both options above. It would involve Mayo County Council entering into an agreement with the IRD to make the existing playground available to the public immediately while at the same time working to source a new site and funding for a free playground in the town.
In his report, Mr Flanagan says making the existing playground available for free would provide a supervised playground immediately with no upfront capital costs.
However, it would involve the ongoing cost of a payment from Mayo County Council to the IRD.
Mr Flanagan said supervision at the existing playground is necessary as it is in an “otherwise secluded location”.
“When first constructed this was the only public playground available in Mayo,” outlines Mr Flanagan. “However, since that time Mayo County Council has provided approximately 40 other playgrounds free to the public at various locations in the county.
“The IRD playground remains the only playground in the Kiltimagh area.
“While all accept the playground is in excellent condition and well maintained, the main concern expressed by parents in the area is the charge levied for its use by Kiltimagh IRD, particularly when all other facilities in the county are free.”
On the agenda for the same meeting is a motion by Councillor Therese Ruane (SF ), calling on Mayo County Council to provide a greenfield site for a new playground in the town “as a matter of urgency”.
Cllr Lisa Chambers (FF ) has also included a motion on the issue. She wants to see inclusive play features for children with disabilites, including wheelchair users provided in Kiltimagh, whether that is in the existing IRD playground or in a new playground.