Greenway Open For Business

Greenway Open For Business

First Minister, The Rt Hon Peter Robinson MP and MLA for East Belfast officially opened the Connswater Community Greenway offices on the Newtownards Road, and announced details of the next major phase of the project.  In a speech today (Friday), he said: “Having secured £23.5 million from the Big Lottery Fund, and additional funding from Belfast City Council and the Department for Social Development, the East Belfast Partnership now moves into the next significant stage of the creation of a linear park through East Belfast.  I am delighted to announce the appointment of McAdam Design to lead a team of consultants who will assist with the delivery of the Greenway project.  The project will connect the open and green spaces, cleaning up the rivers along the way. Many of the residents and visitors to East Belfast don’t realise the Knock River, Loop River and Connswater Rivers run through East Belfast. They certainly couldn’t enjoy a riverside walk.” 

The Greenway team briefed the First Minister on the 13 Greenway Outreach Centres now being established across East Belfast along the Greenway route and the key plans underway working towards the early 2010 construction start date. This included the appointment of Scott Wilson to undertake an Ecological Management Plan which will include bird surveys and river corridor surveys. The First Minister added, "The Connswater Community Greenway was a vision of the people of East Belfast for all the people of East Belfast.  The 40,000 people living in the wards adjacent to the river will benefit in many ways from the Greenway work and when it’s completed, the heritage and education trails will attract thousands of visitors to this part of the City.” 

Greenway Open For Business

At the opening of the Connswater Community Greenway office, Peter Robinson presented a Greenway Duck to four representatives of the thousands of children who attend the 26 schools in the area.  They were also representing four local groups who undertook arts projects showing the Greenway team their vision of how the rivers could look.

Welcoming representatives from local retailers, residents and voluntary organisations, Wendy Langham, Programme Manager of Connswater Community Greenway added, “Weaving from the Cregagh Hills through East Belfast to Victoria Park and out towards Belfast Lough, the Connswater Community Greenway project will create safe spaces for exercise and recreation along the 9Km route helping to deliver healthier and more active people; it will improve the urban environment and help create a safer community.  The Connswater River was once a source of energy for the local mills and other industries; a place where children had adventures and local residents walked and talked. Decades of neglect resulted in a river that was in places inaccessible, and an unwelcoming, unpleasant environment. The Greenway will connect the communities of East Belfast and restore the Rivers to reach their potential as living community assets. It will create vibrant, attractive, safe and accessible parkland for leisure, recreation and community events and activities.”