Council’s £17k bill over MUGA damage

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COLERAINE Borough Council is facing a bill of up to £17,000 after damage was caused to two children’s sports areas in Coleraine.

Council say that police are investigating the incidents which happened in both the Heights and Killowen.

The Coleraine West Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) is one of the best and most used of the six Coleraine Borough Council owned MUGA’s in the local area.

The others are in Ballysally, Garvagh, Kilrea, Macosquin, and Windyhall.

A statement from Council said: “Recent vandalism is adversely impacting on this facility and its use by young people. Ultimately ratepayers are footing the bill for ongoing repairs of over £2,000; this money could be better used to enhance other Council facilities.

“The MUGA stays open all day for use by young people in the Churchlands ward and enables small sided football and basketball games to be played in a controlled environment.

“This facility is floodlight and can be used all year round; hosting midnight soccer competitions run by Coleraine Borough Council that attract up to 60 youths each night.

“Unfortunately the facility has now suffered from vandalism in the form of fencing panels being damaged and removed. There has also been damage to the polyomeric playing surface.

“The Coleraine West MUGA has provided a great outlet for young people in the Churchlands ward to play sport whenever they want to. The PSNI have been informed of the recent vandalism and it is investigating.

Damage was also caused recently to the MUGA complex in Milburn.

Council commented: “This is extremely disappointing as the preparation work was almost at completion.

“The cost of fixing the damage will be between £10k and £15k. Although this will now put additional pressure on the contractors and onto Council, this new and excellent recreational facility for community use is planned to be opened by the end of June.

“Council appeals to the community to not enter the new facility until it has been completed and formally opened.”