Friday, 23 January 2009

The future of the Short Strand Translink depot

This image from Google Earth shows very clearly just how big the depot, in the heart of residential Short Strand really is. It also shows very clearly just how close the buses, and therefore the fumes, really are to families in the area.

In the past I have highlighted the communities concern around the health implications as a result of the levels of pollution emanating from the depot.

You can see the story here:

recently the Irish News carried a report claiming that this depot could be among several owned by Translink going up for sale. Already I spoken to DRD Minister Conor Murphy on this matter and have today sent off a letter to the Chief Executive of Translink Catherine Mason seeking clarification on the future of the depot.

Obviously there are a number of issues of concern around the depot, not least the damage to people's health caused by the fact that numerous buses start up their engines there in the early hours of the morning. But also the fact that you have a site of this size right in the middle of the 9th most socio-economically deprived ward in the Six Counties, an area with a chronic housing shortage and with numerous people languishing on the housing waiting list.

In all of this we have to consider those people who work in the depot and if it is the case that it may close those workers welfare and redeployment must be of priority to Translink, we in Sinn Féin would expect nothing less.

However if this site is to be sold and a site the size of this was to become available right in the heart of the community then I will be lobbying the Minister for Social Development vigorously to acquire it for the benefit of the people.

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