The first phase of an ambitious capital development programme delivered by Mid Ulster District Council at Ballyronan Marina has officially opened, following extensive redevelopment of the Lough shore site.
The new facilities were opened by the Chair and Deputy Chair of Mid Ulster District Council and children from the Ballyronan Community Playgroup, who were joined by special guest, George McCullough, resident of the Marina Care Home. At 77 years old, Mr. McCullough is the oldest surviving person with Down’s Syndrome in the UK and Ireland.
Council Chair, Councillor Paul McLean, welcomed the opening of the new play area, extended car park and refurbished community building, saying, “Our investment in this project, combined with Rural Development Funding gratefully received from DAERA, and the hard work over the past months by the project contractors, E Quinn Civils, has made a critical contribution to develop a key tourism site within the Mid Ulster district, which will help attract domestic, and eventually, out of state visitors. At the same time, we are ensuring that the visitor experience is enhanced for our local population, both here in Ballyronan and throughout its surrounding areas. This is especially welcome now that the school summer holidays have started!”
Mid Ulster District Council Deputy Chair, Councillor Christine McFlynn, helping to open the new facilities at the Marina also welcomed the difference they would make, saying:
“The improvements that have been brought about by the substantial investment in this site include development of the existing play area to include all-inclusive play equipment helping to provide a sensory rich, positive and engaging experience for all children, and the addition of a Changing Places facility which will make this an integrated, engaging and accessible place for local families to visit this summer and for many years to come.”
Improvements to the buildings on site will mean the Marina will be the third outdoor recreation facility in Mid Ulster to have a Changing Places facility, joining Knockmany Forest and OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory.
Later in the summer, four luxury on-water glamping pods will be in place complementing the new viewing platform which has been constructed on the breakwater to provide never before seen views of Lough Neagh.
The pods will be the only one of their kind here, offering a unique accommodation experience that will be incomparable to any currently available. The pods will be complimented by augmented reality interpretation panels that will bring the mythology of Lough Neagh to life.
The total project has been made possible by investment of £690K by the Council, and through part-funding under the Rural Tourism Scheme of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014 -2020, and Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the European Union.