Strabane Sinn Féin Cllr Brian McMahon has called for pedestrian access to be opened through the grounds of Melvin during the construction phase of the new pedestrian bridge in the town.
Cllr McMahon said his call followed Sinn Fein receiving “numerous complaints” about the “unsatisfactory arrangements” that were currently in place for pedestrians.
He said: “The walkway along Melvin is one of the busiest pedestrian thoroughfares in the town but since the commencement of ground-works for the new bridge, people are being asked to negotiate their way through heavy machinery and then take a detour along the walkway up past the running track to exit beside the allotment site and Gaelscoil.
“People are rightly concerned, in terms of the health and safety, of having to move through an area where heavy machinery is operating.
And there is particular concern for the safety of children who may not be fully aware of the dangers posed or who may not, because of their size, be in full view of the workers operating this machinery.
“Also given that this upper part of the walkway that people are now being detoured onto has no lighting it will become increasingly unsafe to navigate as the darker evenings draw in.”
However, Cllr McMahon said he believed the side gate at Melvin adjacent to the steps at the bottom left hand corner of the Ballycolman Estate were to be opened (during the facilities normal opening hours) it would allow for an alternative and safer route through Melvin to and from the town as well as allowing the work on the bridge site works to progress at a quicker pace.
He added: “Sinn Féin has made representations to the Culture, Arts and Leisure Dept of Council asking for serious consideration to be given to this alternative route and at a meeting of the Melvin Reference Group I made a formal proposal to this effect will now go before full council for consideration.”