Millburn Community Association has called a press release issued by Causeway Coast & Glens Council over the ‘forced’ closure of the estates play park as ‘misleading’.
It has now transpired that the press release titled – ‘Coleraine playpark closed due to vandalism’ – issued on Monday, came after the play park has been fixed and reopened.
In response to Councils statement, the Community Association have hit back and clarified the situation with details not included in the original statement.
“This is untrue, yes the park was damaged along time ago and then closed on Thursday so repairs could be carried out after our Outreach Worker Billy Ellis had lobbied Council Staff, ” the Association has said.
“The park floor has been repaired, reopened, and hopefully new apparatus will be put in soon.
“For Council to issue a statement along with The Mayor and to then issue it around the local Social Media news outlets, with a misled story, is wrong after all the good work to sort out the issue this is not very helpful
The Association continued, “Millburn play park is not fit for purpose. Half of the apparatus is missing; it is probably situated in the worst area in the Estate with poorly lit lights and attracting young people to gather at night.
“For years, the Millburn Community Association has flagged up this issue asking for lights and new equipment at Interagency level, but nothing has materialised.”
Community outreach worker for the estate Billy Ellis has also spoken to us today regarding the play park, saying that he has asked Council to “retract this statement and issue an apology” and that the statement “isn’t factually correct” serving no purpose other than to “drag our community through the gutter after we have delivered so much good work locally over the past many years”.
Mr Ellis expressed his disappointment that Council would issue such a statement which included a quote from the Mayor, Councillor Richard Holmes, believing it to be misleading, saying: “after all the good work that this Association have engaged in to try to keep anti-social behaviour to a minimum”, calling it “not very helpful”.
In Conclusion, Mr Ellis told us: “Millburn Community Association would ask Causeway Coast and Glens Council to put their energies into looking seriously at updating the facilities in Millburn, and not issuing statements that have led to this online abuse directed at our community and its residents.
“Perhaps Councils statement was to hide the failings on their part to repair the play park sooner, as our communities children have been forced to play in the park while in this condition for months now, and for years with a token of play equipment available to use.”
A Council spokesperson has also replied to our request for comment on this matter, saying: “In relation to this matter, the contractor came in quicker than expected to fast-track the repair work, so the park was opened again quicker than initially thought.
“Apologies for any confusion.”