Belfast Telegraph

Arson attack on bulldozer a setback for £750k Belfast park scheme

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

A "disgusting" act of vandalism on a £90,000 bulldozer in a Belfast city park could be a major setback on the construction of a new 3G football pitch.

The alarm was raised on Monday night when McAvoy Construction of Banbridge were alerted by telephone that a piece of their machinery on the Marrowbone Millennium Park site in north Belfast was on fire.

They had moved the bulldozer on to the site on the Oldpark Road that day, ahead of beginning the next stage of construction work.

But now, following the act of vandalism, it is understood the project with an investment of £750,000 from Belfast City Council could be hindered.

A spokesman for McAvoy Construction told the Belfast Telegraph they have never had any trouble before.

He said: "We got a phonecall from a resident to say that there was a piece of plant on site on fire last night. It's just vandalism.

"The first night the piece of plant was sitting on site there was about 12-15 youths on site and the next thing the bulldozer was on fire and they scarpered.

"I don't know what you could say to them, I would just ask the question why? What benefit has that achieved? All it has done at this stage is set the project back, possibly months."

The 22-week project was due to be finished towards the end of March but the construction company believe this could now be in jeopardy.

The spokesman for McAvoy Construction told the Belfast Telegraph they were unsure as to what their next step is.

"I was speaking to local representatives as we are trying to improve the environment in the area," he said.

"The client for the project is Belfast City Council who have effectively washed their hands of it.

"Belfast City Council have more or less told us it's our site it's our problem. Police and local representatives and local people have all been very supportive," he said.

A spokeswoman for Belfast City Council said: "We're aware of the incident at Marrowbone Millennium Park on Monday evening.

"Whilst it is primarily a matter for the contractor to deal with this act of vandalism, the council will work with the contractor, PSNI and local political representatives to try to avoid any recurrence of this on the site."

North Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Gerry McCabe condemned the attack.

He said: "This is a disgusting act of vandalism and is an attack on the whole community."

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