Residents Demand Prioritising Local Control of new Neighbourhood Centre
A packed meeting of residents of the greater Ballinfoile locality and of Castlegar this week in the Menlo Park hotel heard speaker and speaker stress the importance of ensuring that the new Neighbourhood Sports and Community Centre must serve and be controlled by local people. It was standing room only on Monday in the Menlo Park Hotel as residents finally could see decades of campaigning bear fruit with the much anticipated state-of-the-art centre being readied for opening.
However there was a strong fear expressed that, due to the severe cutbacks in local government funding resulting in Galway City Council not being able to operate the centre on its own and having to consider bringing in a private management company, that profits could be proritised at the expense of community needs.
There was unanimous agreement by the capacity crowd that the council should not take on an outside contractor until the principles of community representativity on an oversight board, peak hours retention and low rental fees for local groups are formally agreed upon with residents of the area. Furthermore it was also agreed that the local authority should consider social enterprise partnership programmes as an alternative to private contractors. The council will discuss the management and operations of the Ballinfoile Castlegar Neighbourhood Centre at its meeting of December 14th and we want them to ensure that decades of campaigning and levies imposed on houses built since 1978 to fund local recreational facilities are not betrayed by the community now losing control of its new facility.