After over 20 years of campaigns for a community centre in Knocknacarra and with the media announcements from the local councillors and the corporation of the last two years, furthermore with the actual visualization of the building of an actual entity alongside the existing dressing room facilities in Cappagh Park, it appeared at long last the saga of the provision of a proper functioning community centre for the area was complete, to the joy of the local residents.
However this does not seem to be the case. Firstly, no management structure has been put in place at this time. One would have to ask why, during the almost two year period of the building’s construction, were the corporation and local councillors not engaged in or had not entered a process of engagement with the stakeholders, local associations and sports clubs in relation to the management of this long-awaited facility. Also, why was €300,000 handed over to the corporation by the caretaker community company KCCL on behalf of the community without what appears to be any pre-conditions or any comeback position with Galway Corporation.
Furthermore, more concerning is the fact that, when the local parish priest attempted to hold a gathering event in the new entity, alarming reports were forthcoming in relation to what type of footwear could be worn or used in the new centre. Surely the flooring of a purpose built community centre should be capable of servicing the needs of the local residents for public meetings, gatherings, social events etc. This does not seem to be the case. (Why not, one must ask.)
At this time, it appears a basketball complex has been created for an area that at present does not have a basketball club, and whether the complex can be used as a fully functioning community centre in its present form is now in question.
Twenty years ago this saga began with a proposed centre at the rear of Joyce’s supermarket, which divided the community because of loopholes left in a planning and an approval process became a non entity. The community then were being told that Millars Lane in Rahoon was the answer to the ongoing saga. This also failed to materialise. Finally, with the agreement of the majority of the community, Cappagh Park was agreed as the preferred site.
Now, over 20 years later, we have a building with no management structure in place and serious questions in relation to its suitability as a fully workable and functioning community centre built at a cost of €3 million with a contribution of €300,000 from the community.
I am calling on the elected councillors to call and hold a public meeting for all concerned stakeholders, organisations, sports clubs, and residents of the area to ensure the questions that I have asked are properly answered in an open and transparent way and that a proper community based management structure is put in place for the benefit of all of the people and children of Knocknacarra.
20 Manor Court,