PLANS for the development of a multi-sport facility at Melvin Sports Complex, including a boxing hub, have taken a major step forward.
At a meeting of council's Health and Community Commitee, councillors were updated on the business case approval by Sport NI and confirmation of an indicative grant award of £1m for the development of the facility.
Councillors were told that the Multi Facility Fund programme awards have been made by Sport NI allowing indicative maximum awards towards capital costs to be confirmed; with £1m being awarded towards the capital costs of this £1.6m project.
Council had applied for grant support towards the construction of a sports hall, changing rooms and changing places toilet, storage and ancillary works to be integrated into the existing Melvin complex.
The approved business case costs of £1.6m are made up of a council allocation of £600,000 funding towards the project and the £1m indicative offer from Sport NI.
"The funding offer provides for an indicative allocation of £1m towards capital costs subject to Derry City and Strabane District Council fulfilling the remaining project management requirements, including submission of a tender report, business case updated with the tendered costs, full partnership funding package," a report to councillors stated.
"An integrated business case team is being appointed to undertake the detailed design development process and it is anticipated an appointment will be made by late autumn.
"The overall programme delivery timeline will be confirmed by the Integrated Design Team, with an anticipated construction completion of mid-2023, subject to the key planning approvals being obtained."
The report added that risks associated with the increased building supply costs will be kept under review with a full assessment to be undertaken at pre-tender stage.
"Confirmation of a full partnership funding package will be reviewed at this stage," it added.
Strabane Sinn Féin councillor, Michaela Boyle - who is a member of the Melvin Steering Group - said it marks a major step forward in the delivery of the ambitious project.
She said funding will finalise what will utltimately be a "centre of excellence right in the heart of Strabane".
She added: “The provision of a multi-sport facility sports hall, including for a boxing hub, represents the final piece in the jigsaw of the overall regeneration and multi-million pound transformation of Melvin Sports Complex into a regional centre of sporting excellence," she said.
“Sport NI have now approved the business case from council and made an indicative grant award of £1m towards the overall £1.6m capital costs of the project.
"With council committing the other £600,000, we are well on our way to putting this final piece in the jigsaw in place."