£310,000 wasted as Dundonald park and ride terminal closes after six months
More than £300,000 was wasted on a park and ride terminal that closed less than six months after being opened, it has emerged.
The Belfast Telegraph revealed last week how the facility at Dundonald has been shut because of cutbacks. The purpose-built waiting area only opened in December.
Now it has been disclosed that the cost of designing and constructing the building was £310,000.
A second park and ride terminal at Cairnshill in south Belfast, which is also closing having opened in 2010, cost £233,000.
The details were released by Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy after an Assembly question from Ukip MLA David McNarry.
Mr McNarry, who sits on the Assembly's regional development committee, said the terminals were now "costly white elephants".
He said DRD officials had not given enough thought to the projects.
"It is symptomatic of this department and its cavalier spending," he said.
"Then it cries wolf when it hasn't got money to fix potholes.
"It just beggars belief, and the public must be sick of it.
"We're seeing fares go up, we're seeing bus services cut, and yet we have money wasted on things like this.
"These things are now costly white elephants, and it's the public who will foot the bill."
The park and ride terminal at Dundonald opened on December 1 last year.
At the time Mr Kennedy hailed it as an "excellent new facility" which would benefit commuters. However, after just six months in operation, it closed last Wednesday.
DRD stressed the park and ride sites at Dundonald and Cairnshill would continue to operate. However, security will be removed at both, and at two other sites at Blacks Road and Sprucefield, although there will be a callout service to any alarms.
DRD said it had "no other option" but to make savings because of a £60m shortfall.
"The department is facing a £60m resource budgetary pressure for 2015/16, more than half of which will fall to TransportNI," a spokesman said.
"The department had no other option but to make savings wherever we can find them.
"Unfortunately this includes suspending the security and guarding arrangements at four park and ride sites, namely, Blacks Road, Sprucefield, Cairnshill and Dundonald.
"These are not decisions that have been taken lightly but the impact of the budget is such that the department simply cannot spend money which it does not have."