After three years of planning, work finally began on the Connswater Community Greenway (CCG) this week.
At a stakeholders meeting last Friday at Heyn Hall, Sydenham, the construction team and shareholders gave an overview of the proposed plans for the forthcoming months.
The meeting, chaired by Sammy Douglas, of the East Belfast Partnership, heard that work would begin on the flood alleviation project on Monday, February 28.
The CCG is a £32m project, developed by the East Belfast Partnership and funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Belfast City Council and the Department for Social Development.
Wendy Langham, programme manager, said: “This is a very exciting time. We hope we get loads of feedback from people and that you will show your support throughout the construction.
“The work will begin on Monday — we would, however, be very grateful for any suggestions for upcoming projects.”
Construction team Connswater JV director Kieran Doyle said: “We are very happy to work alongside the people of east Belfast, we are open to criticism but a few compliments would be appreciated.”
The prospect of job opportunities was also discussed, and local resident Bobby Cosgrove voiced his concern.
“It would benefit east Belfast if local people were given apprenticeships and were taught a trade. It is the perfect opportunity for some part-time work for thousands that are currently unemployed,” he said.
“Apparently there is a clause in the construction contract that local labourers would be given jobs, but as of yet no direct body has been set up.”
Those present at the meeting suggested other potential projects, such as water features and greenery at the Holywood Arches, where construction starts in June.
Mrs Langham said: “We will be bringing in two education officers to ensure that teachers and children can use the Greenway as an outdoor classroom. We also plan to develop community gardens so residents can use them as allotments.”
A 24-hour information hotline has been set up for queries or complaints about the project on 9045 8786.