Boost for Lagan regeneration plans
Plans to regenerate the Lagan received a boost last week when one of Europe’s most famous urbanists Eric Reynolds visited the Shaftesbury Recreation Centre to hear of plans to provide access to the river for local people.
Widely regarded as the most innovative force in urban renewal, Eric Reynolds is behind the famed Container City phenomenon which has created retail, accommodation and arts spaces out of recycled ship containers. He was in Belfast to address business leaders at the annual CBI dinner and took time out to visit a range of locations across Belfast including the Lagan towpath at Ormeau, the Lisburn Road and An Chultúrlann.
Briefing Eric Reynolds and his host, Nigel Smyth of the CBI, at the Shaftesbury Recreation Centre was Ronan McKenna who heads up the busy leisure facility in the Lower Ormeau. Community leaders in the area have tabled plans for a boat facility at the centre which could provide recreation and leisure amenities for young people and allow them access to the river.
Cllr Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, deputy chair of the Development Committee in City Hall said the “rebirth” of the Lagan was driving the renaissance of Belfast.
“Last week, the key Council committee in South Belfast greenlighted plans to open up eight miles of the Lagan from the harbour to Edenderry to enable pleasure and sport vessels to access the Lagan. In the most successful European cities, rivers have become bustling sites of recreation, leisure, tourism and arts.
“We wish to see the Lagan and Belfast follow that model.”