Can a £10k waterslide save Dungannon’s foundering shops?

A waterslide like the one planned for Dungannon town centre
A waterslide like the one planned for Dungannon town centre

Dungannon District Council are planning the purchase of a £10,000 water slide to ease the “confusion and negativity” surrounding the town’s public realm scheme.

In a report to council last Monday, Regeneration Manager Paul McCready explained how traders are feeling the pain of the still unfinished town centre works, with some suffering a 25% loss in trade.

Voicing his support for the proposal, Independent Councillor Barry Monteith raised concerns about “one significant shop closure” and said he worries “others may follow”.

In a funding proposal to help bring footfall back into the town Mr McCready outlined a £65,000 plan to reclaim shoppers from Rushmere and Cookstown when the public realm scheme is complete.

As well as two months free parking, that will cost the council around £22,000, he also unveiled an event plan centred around the purchase of a giant water slide much like the one destined for Shipquay Street in Derry.

As well as the £15,000 total cost of the water slide and the event’s organisation, Mr McCready also revealed plans to spend £22,000 on marketing Dungannon and all it has to offer.

Concerns were raised at the amount of money that has been spent on Dungannon town over recent years, with Cllr Gildernew suggesting this could be as much as £1m, but council agreed that something must be done to support the town’s independent traders and bring shoppers back into the town centre.

With the promise that the water slide may, in the future, be used throughout the district’s towns and villages the proposal was approved by the chamber.

Tyrone Tribulations suggested a water slide last July.