Edenvilla Park secret garden closed ‘due to council staffing issues’

A Craigavon councillor has claimed staffing issues are the reason behind Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s decision to close the secret garden at Edenvilla Park in Portadown.

Speaking at a meeting of the leisure and community services committee on Monday (June 13), Councillor Margaret Tinsley told the committee she, like many other people, was disappointed to see the facility closed.

“A number of parents and myself and a number of my colleagues were disappointed at the closure of Edenvilla’s secret garden, which is a lovely asset there, at the weekends,” said the DUP councillor.

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“One of the officers contacted me at the weekend and said it was closed as a result of our staffing issues.

The entrance to Edenvilla Park in Portadown. Picture: Google

“We discussed at length a number of options and the officer has gone off to see what can be done to get this resolved as quickly as possible.”

Her party colleague, Councillor Darryn Causby said he was frustrated that an organisation the size of the council cannot open one of its main leisure facilities in Portadown at the weekend.

“It beggars belief to me,” he said. “The user figures within that area are quite substantial and unfortunately for officers it actually straddles two district electoral areas so you have a whole lot more members to deal with about it.

“I do find it unacceptable we are in a position where we, an organisation of 1,500 people, can’t open a park at the weekend.

“It is not just that either. We have had issues with the toilet facilities at Edenvilla. I’m annoyed that we can’t get access to toilets in this park.

“I have a three year-old and a two year-old and we are potty training one of them at the minute and we avoid Edenvilla for that reason and that is such a shame as it is a really good facility. It is a major issue and needs sorted.”

Ulster Unionist Party Councillor Julie Flaherty thanked the councillors for raising this issue and told the chamber it “is outrageous” that there are no proper toilet facilities at the site.

“The secret garden is a beautiful little part of that park,” she said. “My nieces just love it and one of them is, like myself, an avid nerdy gardener and a fabulous vegetable patch has appeared and it is doing really well.

“A lot of effort and work has gone into it and if there is anything we could do to help and push it forward we really will need to, the play park is bunged all the time.”

Council’s strategic director of neighbourhood services, Sharon O’Gorman, confirmed officers have been in touch with Cllr Tinsley about this issue and said the other comments have been taken on board as well.

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