£250k fund is pledged to protect our green sites
Belfast City Council plans to tackle anti-social behaviour in its parks by repairing any damage done to its property as well as ensuring its park managers work with community safety officers and the PSNI to tackle drinking.
SDLP councillor Tim Attwood, who lives near Falls Park, one of the areas blighted by anti-social behaviour including underage drinking and drug abuse, insisted he had never experienced any trouble at his local park but regretted the fact some of his neighbours considered it a no-go area.
"I am lucky with young kids to have Falls Park on the doorstep, it is an amazing place, our staff have done an enormous job to make the parks more open," he said.
"I can honestly say, I have been in with my kids over the last number of years and never spotted any problems, obviously they happen later at night and in better weather when the kids are off.
"It concerns me sometimes when I talk to some parents and they say I wouldn't go near Falls Park, it's not necessarily the image now, it's the image from 20 years ago when there were even more problems but there are good activities going on that families use day in and day out."
Other areas of Belfast have seen improvement in terms of the number of recorded anti-social incidents such as Oldpark where the numbers have dropped from 85 last year to just 32 this year.
On Tuesday evening, the council agreed to allocate £250,000 to tackle problems at its parks. The measures include family fun days at Botanic Gardens, park wardens at Ormeau Park to work with community safety officers and the PSNI to tackle scramblers and drinking, damage to be repaired at Orangefield Playing Fields and a decorative arts project to address graffiti at the City Cemetery.