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Fresh bid for Riverine Project funding lodged

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Fresh bid for Riverine Project funding lodged thumbnailSinn Féin's Pat Doherty, Michaela Boyle and councillor Dan Kelly looking over plans for the cross-border Riverine Project.

A FRESH bid to an EU funding pot to finance the multi-million pound cross-border Riverine Project has been submitted.

The plans, which aim to completely regenerate the area linking Strabane and Lifford along the riverside, are the subject of a renewed joint 12million euro Peace IV funding bid by Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with Donegal County Council to the Special European Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The ambitious project was officially given the go ahead back in 2011 but suffered a setback in 2013 when funding was pulled.

This week however, both councils confirmed that the long-held plans are back on track with the process to secure funding now formally underway.

The first stage of the application process for funding was submitted to the SEUPB last Wednesday and if successful will progress to Stage 2 later in the year.

Given that it is a competitive funding process the plans - including artist's impressions - will be made available to the public after Stage 2.    

"Both councils hope to secure the major capital funding required to deliver this significant cross-border shared space project, which is designed to further enhance and strengthen cross-community and cross border links between the towns of Strabane and Lifford," a statement from the councils said.

Under the proposals, an iconic shared space will be developed and will feature a network of cycle paths, a pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Strabane and Lifford, a visitors centre and a green area, public art displays as well as interactive play facilities.

As well as rejuvenating the border riverside area, the project also aims to rejuvenate cross-border relations and address the impact of the conflict on the Strabane/ Lifford area and its hinterlands

Elected representatives from both councils were appraised of the final plans during a meeting in Lifford last month.

Speaking after casting an eye over plans for the application, Sinn Féin's Michaela Boyle said the 'visionary' scheme will be 'transformative' for the Strabane and Lifford areas.

The outgoing MLA who is standing in next months Assembly elections has been involved along with colleague and West Tyrone MP., Pat Doherty, in meetings with SEUPB and other key stakeholders in an effort to advance the project.

"I wish to particular tribute to the chief executives and officers of both councils for the massive collaborative effort and work that has gone into producing these visionary plans to totally transform the landscape and land use over and along the banks of the Foyle and create an outstanding visual and leisure amenity which will act as a 'Shared Space' for local people and visitors alike and which any region on these islands would be justifiably proud of," she said.

"These exciting plans include a raised pedestrian bridge, a rope bridge feature, amazing play amenity facilities, wetland and woodland walk areas, a visitor centre, parking provision and much more with the planned integration into the wider pedestrian and cycle paths under the Greenway Projects.

"These plans are impressive in every respect and I believe that this visionary and transformative Riverine Project application more than meets the "regionally significant criteria" for this tranche of Peace IV EU Funding and will be enthusiastically received by the decision makers."

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