CRAIGAVON Council is expected to pay £25,000 to clean the new pavements in Lurgan and Portadown, the Mail can reveal.
Despite work still continuing to build the pavements in Lurgan, the new pavements in both towns require a specialist deep clean.
It is understood the council is to appoint a contractor to clean the granite asphalt surfaces and the bill is expected to be £25k this year alone.
Chewing gum and oil from vehicles parking on the pavements are regarded as the major culprits in tarnishing the pavements.
DUP Alderman Sydney Anderson said since the Public Realm Scheme was carried out, there were those that showed little or no respect for the pavements in the towns.
He said Council had “gone through hardship to get the pavements looking so good and if more respect was shown, deep cleans, such as these would not have to be undertaken”.
He referred to the Environmental Wardens, who kept the pavements under control, but this deep clean was at great expense.
He said it was £25k this year and it could be the same next year.
Concern was also expressed that cleaning the granite could cause damage to the sealants and jointing and the potential cost of rectifying it.
Mayor Carla Lockhart suggested a publicity campaign revealing the cost of cleaning the streets how Council would deal with the culprits by issuing fines.
The Director of Environmental Services at Craigavon Council Lorraine Crawford explained that it was the Council’s responsibility to clean the granite under the terms of funding from the Department of Social Development.
She said a specialist company would be required to undertake this work and she was taking advice and would work with the contractor to ensure no damage was done and would bring a report back to committee on the effectiveness of the deep clean and whether it would be required again.
Sinn Fein Councillor Noel McGeown said he did not believe a contractor could clean the granite and give a guarantee to the sealant and expansion joints. He said there could be extra costs involved, which would not be known until after the deep clean had been undertaken and urged caution.
Sinn Fein’s Gemma McKenna referred to the issue of chewing gum on the pavements and staining and said this followed on from the debate on littering and dog fouling and proposed that Council looked into education and campaigning. She said that the littering and chewing gum required an in-depth campaign including how much the fines were and how much it was costing the ratepayer.
Councillor Robert Smith referred to vehicles parking on the pavements which leaked oil and was causing oil marks on the pavements. He said he understood no amount of deep cleaning would remove oil and if this continued, a complete replacement of areas would be required. He asked that companies that supply oil and lorry drivers be made aware that they are not to park on the pavements.
Ms Crawford said she had written to DRD Roads Service regarding the issue of illegal parking on pavements.
The Director of Development Olga Murtagh is to investigate the resealant issue.
A spokesperson for the Council said: “In 2009, Craigavon Borough Council secured £8 million from the Department for Social Development and the Department for Regional Development to help re-establish both Lurgan and Portadown as modern market towns through a programme of public realm improvements. These works have provided new, wider granite pavements, new lighting, seating, bins and tree planting.
“As a condition of this funding to transform the towns, it was agreed that Council would undertake regular cleaning of the public realm areas to maintain the high standard of work that has been completed.
“Council is currently in the process of appointing a specialist contractor to carry out the cleaning of the surfaces in both Portadown and Lurgan and will ensure that both the necessary level of expertise and value for money is secured. The contractor will be appointed by May 2013.”