Derry Eden Project to transform banks of the River Foyle
A NEW £62m project aimed at transforming the banks of Derry’s River Foyle could be completed by 2023, it has been revealed.
According to developers of the Eden Project Foyle, work on the river bank development could start within 18 months, leading to what backers have described as a “beacon of cultural tourism”.
Artists impressions of the project - released at its formal launch yesterday - reveal ambitious plans to completely transform the river bank from the Foyle Bridge towards Culmore Point.
The development would open up previously inaccessible land to the public and would create a spectacular focus building, inspired by Neolithic architecture, reflecting the earliest settlements along the river bank. The central building would include a performance area and play spaces.
With support from the British and Irish governments, the Eden Project Foyle also includes plans to rejuvenate the banks of the Foyle with walled gardens, tree-top and floating walkways, a water activity centre and plan areas covering a 250-acre site and stretching up to 1.5 miles.
The transformative plans are based on the hugely successful “Eden Project” in Cornwell. The project was built on old china clay pits and became a major driver in the Cornish economy, attracting more than 21 million visitors since it opened in 2001.
The Derry project is being developed by the Foyle River Gardens charity. Foyle River Gardens chairman, Eamonn Deane predicted it would lead to the creation of more than 170 jobs on site, while supporting more than 2,000 jobs through visitor spend.
Speaking at the official launch, Mr Deane said: “Eden Project Foyle brings together a network of local partners and supporters from universities, businesses, statutory and social organisations to address issues which affect each of us.
“The relationship with the Eden Project has been built up over the last three years and we are delighted to be able to move the project forward together.”
Co-founder of the original Eden Project, Sir Tim Smit said the fact that the Derry project was identified in the recent “New Decade, New Approach” agreement was a huge boost for backers.
“We are hugely excited to be working with the Foyle River Gardens in the creation of Eden Project Foyle and believe completely in its transformative capacity to draw visitors to the north west and become a global must-see destination,” Sir Tim said.