SDLP councillor Sean Mooney has said that the success of Derry’s Maritime Festival shows the potential for utilising the city’s river.
Councillor Mooney was speaking after the arrival of the Clipper Race fleet attracted huge numbers of visitors to the city at the weekend ahead of the festival.
He called for council to explore further opportunities to get the most out of being situated on the banks of the River Foyle.
Councillor Mooney said:
“There was an incredible buzz about the city at the weekend with the arrival of the clipper fleet and large crowds gathering to welcome it on the banks of the River Foyle. The official launch of the Maritime Festival will also attract thousands of visitors to our city and has become one of the highlights of the year with people travelling from near and far to enjoy the festivities.
“Our city has a rich maritime history and I’m glad to see that we are now capitalising on that with this festival and a Maritime Museum set to open its doors in 2025, but there are opportunities being missed to utilise this resource to its full potential to add to our city’s tourism offering and to provide an enhanced experience for everyone who lives in our city.
“Work is still ongoing on the new pontoon at Prehen boathouse, with plans for a storehouse also given the go-ahead. I believe we need to prioritise the redevelopment of the boathouse itself if we are ever going to see Derry become a real destination for water-based activities and sports that have proved hugely successful elsewhere.
“From surfing, to scuba diving, canoeing and everything in between, there are no end to the possibilities of what we could do with our river and the associated events and groups we could attract to this area as a result. Since becoming a councillor I have made expanding this offering one of my goals and I will continue to work with council and other stakeholders until we use the river and its associated resources to the maximum.”