Monday, 3 August 2015

Muir continues campaign to see Waterfall Walk reopened

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I am continuing my campaign to see the Waterfall Walk in Crawfordsburn Country Park repaired. Abandoned by the NI Environment Agency since winter 2010, I have since been campaigning for alternative access to the waterfall to be provided with the Environment Minister now revealing plans for the creation of an alternative access path due to safety concerns.

For five years people have been unable to access one of North Down’s natural beauty spots – something I have been trying to find answers to for some time.

Despite previous assurances that this issue would be addressed, the NIEA has made absolutely no effort to rectify the problem leaving many disappointed and frustrated.

That is why I again questioned the Environment Minister to outline the specific reasons as to why any work has stalled.  While the Minister admitted there are no ownership or access issues preventing access, but did acknowledge concerns around the existing path being unstable.

Following this admission, I am pleased the Minister has instructed the NIEA to investigate the creation of an alternative path.  This would create a lasting solution for local people and tourists who want to get closer to the waterfall than the current viewing platform permits.

Five years is long enough to wait and I will be continuing to push both the Minister and the NIEA to make sure the best long-term solution is delivered.

Assembly Question response below:

AQW 46729/11-15

Question:
To ask the Minister of the Environment whether any land ownership or access issues are inhibiting the Northern Ireland Environment Agency from making the necessary repairs to enable access to the Waterfall Walk in Crawfordsburn Country Park.

Answer:
There are no ownership or access issues preventing access to make repairs. However, senior engineers have advised that the steep slope on the left side of the Crawford’s Burn, into which the closed path was cut, is inherently unstable.
With the prospect of further landslips I have asked NIEA to explore the creation of an alternative access path. Subject to the availability of capital funding, this would provide a long term solution and ensure public safety.
The outcome of a current bid for funding will determine whether the works can progress this financial year.
Meanwhile visitors to Crawfordsburn Country Park wishing to see the waterfall behind Crawfordsburn Village can still access the viewing platform from the path on the right bank of the Crawford’s Burn.

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