€8.96 million of EU PEACE IV funding has been offered for a new shared space project that will reach across Strabane and Lifford. Called ‘Riverine,’ the project will create 30acres of new cross-border community park space and infrastructure, designed to help bring people together.
The ‘Riverine’ project will encompass a number of unique elements all designed to encourage greater levels of positive cross-community contact. These elements will include: a pavilion building (for various cultural and heritage events); outdoor wetland and park space (for recreation and environmental education activities); a family fun space (comprising of a toddler and junior adventure play area); cross-border pathways and greenways (to accommodate leisure and recreation activities); and a newly constructed pedestrian footbridge (that will symbolically connect the space across the River Foyle).
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
Welcoming the project Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which manages the PEACE IV Programme, said, “This is one of a number of shared space projects that are currently being funded under the PEACE IV Programme. Each project is designed to help people understand that they have much more in common than that which keeps them apart. This is one of the core goals of the programme as it helps people to overcome some of the prejudices that they may hold of the ‘other’ community.
“By creating a shared space which citizens can enjoy together, irrespective of their background, the project will help them to gain a better understanding of what life is like for someone of a different religion or culture, and in so doing will help to create a more cohesive society,” she continued.
After its construction, the project will deliver upon a number of different programming activities to maximise its usage from both the local Protestant and Catholic communities, on both sides of the border. This activity will include a community heritage engagement programme, a culture and peace activity trail, a creative arts programme and a shared space connections project.The ‘Riverine’ project also represents a strong working partnership between Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council. Both will be involved in its construction, delivery and maintenance going forward.
Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Mayor Cllr Michaela Boyle said the announcement was transformational for the cross-border area with the potential to enhance the profile of Strabane and Lifford as an attractive cross-border shared space for everyone to enjoy. She commented, “The Riverine project is a real catalyst for transformation in terms of its potential as a regionally significant and iconic destination to connect it with major planned regional cross-border greenway infrastructure and the potential it has to impact positively on the landscape in Strabane and Lifford.
“This multi-million pound, cross-border project will see the development of an iconic and regionally significant, shared space parkland facility that will bridge the east and west banks of the River Foyle between the towns of Strabane and Lifford. Not only will it provide us much needed community facilities and shared green space but it will further strengthen our existing close cross-border links and enhance the relationship between the two towns and their hinterlands.”
Posted: 11:37 am June 14, 2019