Belfast Telegraph

Bonfire builders under fire for Greenway eyesore

by Bob Malcolm

Roads Service and Sustrans — the company in charge of the Comber Greenway — have been applauded by local politicians for their quick response in dealing with the dirty aftermath of a bonfire in public space in east Belfast.

The Comber Greenway prior to the 12th of July celebrations where glass and rubble was strewn across the walkway.

The bonfire was erected for the Twelfth of July on the Comber Greenway behind Finvoy Street in inner east Belfast.

Prior to the burning of the bonfire and after the fire had died, glass, nails and rubble was strewn across the greenway to the annoyance of cyclists and pedestrians in the area.

The grass near the walkway was also damaged by the bonfire and left the area blackened.

Steven Patterson, director of Sustrans said: “The Bloomfield Walkway is a very valuable and much loved greenspace both for the residents who live in the adjoining streets and for those travelling through on the Comber Greenway.

“Unfortunately in May and June the area was a terrible mess in the lead up to the Twelfth of July bonfire with burnt pallets and other general house-hold rubbish being scattered around everywhere and glass and nails on the path.

“We definitely encourage children to play outdoors and we know they how important the walkway is as a play area, which includes preparing for the bonfire.

“But we do not think a public space, used by so many should look so terrible for so long every summer.

“Another bonfire on the greenway at Ballybeen was kept very tidy and we would hope that next year the bonfire preparation could be better managed.

“We commend the Roads Service for tidying the area up so quickly afterwards and the greenway is now looking great and being well used by locals and visitors alike,” added Mr Patterson.

East Belfast UUP MLA Michael Copeland said: “The siting of bonfires frequently causes distress and damage.

“In this case Road Service and Sustrans appear to have worked very well in minimising the inconvenience and deserve congratulation by everyone.”

He said it should be noted that in Castlereagh Borough Council only one formal complaint had been made about bonfires this year.

East Belfast Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle said: “I have been working closely with Sustrans and DRD Roads Service to ensure the highest possible standard of upkeep of this excellent local cycle route and walkway.

“I strongly welcome work which has been and is going to be carried out to tackle low level problems such as graffiti, weeds and walkway surface maintenance.

“The Comber Greenway is an important green space and it provides a place for leisure, sustainable transport and enjoyment for people in east Belfast, and I remain committed to securing its ongoing protection and development.”

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