A contractor has been appointed to begin work on one of Londonderry’s biggest environmental projects — transforming a former rubbish dump into a landscaped public park.
The former Culmore Landfill Site is now poised for a £9m make-over which will see it landscaped with a new community and education building, natural park and pathways.
Most of the money will be deployed on a methane gas extractor which can then be used for electricity generation.
The site was last used as a dump in 2007 and the new project is expected to take three years to complete.
Owners Derry City Council has now appointed a contractor to proceed with the next stage.
The chairman of the council’s Environmental Services Committee, Councillor Jimmy Carr, described the works as the single largest removal of pollution or contaminants from the environment it has undertaken.
Mr Carr said that when finished it will provide significant environmental benefits to the city and region.
“The appointment of the contractor allows us to progress with plans to restore the site, which will include the installation of a capping system and the establishment of environmental management systems for landfill gas and leachate.
“It’s a huge environmental project for council that will realise the provision of a significant natural parkland for the enjoyment of local residents in the Culmore area and the general public.
“Included in the plans are the installation of pathways, car parking and landscaping to facilitate the recreational space,” he added.
Derry Mayor Kevin Campbell said the advancement of the restoration plan was positive news for the city.
Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood said: “The former landfill site, when properly remediated and restored, will offer a tremendous venue and vista at the mouth of Lough Foyle.
“Once finished, it will be a huge asset to the people of Culmore.”
Culmore Landfill Site comprises of tidal land reclaimed for agriculture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But the sea defences were breached and the land had reverted to mudflats. In 1971, the site was developed by the former Londonderry Development Commission as a controlled municipal landfill. Gradually the 40ha site was reclaimed again.