Looking for information about a council service?
23rd June 1997
Minutes of Meeting of Economic Development Committee held on Monday 23 June 1997 at 9.00 pm in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Derry Road, Strabane
Present:- In the Chair:- Councillor McHugh Other Members:- Councillors Mrs A Bell, I Barr, D Bresland, M Conway, J Donnell, J Emery, D Hussey, T McBride, J McNulty, E Mullen, I Murtagh, J O'Kane, E Turner MBE Total = 14
Apologies:- Councillors Kerrigan, McMenamin
In Attendance:- Clerk and Chief Executive, Economic Development Officer,
Schedule of Meetings
Councillor Barr remarked that three Committee meetings, namely Cultural, Economic Development and Environmental, had been organised for the same night and already the second meeting was commencing one hour later than that planned. He asked that those officials who scheduled meetings should allow sufficient time for discussion of the items on the agenda. The Chairman of the Council commented that it had been agreed at the Annual General Meeting that these three Committees' AGM's would be held prior to the Summer recess and the other business on the respective agendas required attention due to the break as a result of the Local Government Elections.
Election of Chairperson
The Chairman of the Council invited nominations for the position of Chairperson of the Economic Development Committee.
Councillor Barr proposed, seconded by Councillor McNulty, that Councillor McHugh be elected to the position of Chairperson.
Councillor Turner proposed, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that the outgoing Chairman, Councillor Kerrigan, be re-elected as he had served the Committee well. In response to a query by a member, Councillor Turner advised that Councillor Kerrigan had been unable to attend tonight's meeting but would be willing to accept the position. Voting took place on the two proposals.
FOR COUNCILLOR McHUGH 9 Votes
FOR COUNCILLOR KERRIGAN 5 Votes
Councillor McHugh was duly elected to the position of Chairperson of the Economic Development Committee.
Councillor McHugh took the Chair and thanked those Councillors who had supported him. He commented that Councillor Kerrigan had done a worthwhile job whilst in the Chair and expressed the hope that everyone would move forward in a positive manner.
Election of Vice Chairperson
The Chairman of the Committee invited nominations for the position of Vice Chairperson.
Councillor Mullen proposed, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell, that Councillor McBride be elected to the position of Vice Chairperson in view of his professional background and knowledge of business studies etc. which he felt would be an asset to his role in assisting the Chairperson.
As there were no other nominations Councillor McBride was elected as Vice Chairperson of the Committee and subsequently took the Chair.
It was noted that the Minutes of the Meeting of the Economic Development Committee held on 24 February 1997 had previously been adopted by Council.
At the outset of the meeting the Chairman of the Committee urged Members to bear in mind the late starting time of the meeting and to adhere to the agenda as closely as possible.
Page 2 - Scattered Enterprise Zone Concept
Reference was made by the Chairman of the Council to comments by Mr Robinson, IDB, in which he had stated that this Concept had not proved successful in the UK, however, the report published had shown evidence to the contrary. The Economic Development Officer advised that the report which related to Derry and Belfast had been placed in the Members' Library for perusal.
Page 3 - Ulster Bus Depot Site, Strabane
Councillor O'Kane queried whether an application for the provision of a multi-storey car park from a private concern in the vicinity of Railway Road, Strabane would be acceptable. The Chief Executive and Economic Development Officer undertook to check out any details which would be submitted.
Page 3 - Western Sperrins Area Based Strategy
In response to a query by Councillor McBride, the Chief Executive commented that Members could be given an update on the strategy which encompassed parts of Omagh and Strabane District Council areas when the Development Officer for the Strategy had been appointed.
Page 6 - Retail Development Strategy
Councillor Hussey reiterated his request that research of the type used on Strabane town be extended to the rural towns in the rest of the district. The Economic Development Officer advised that Mr McFetridge had been approached about using the questionnaire and methodology. She also explained that Mr McFetridge would be willing to assist with the setting up of a project for Castlederg High School in conjunction with the University of Ulster. Any further input from Mr McFetridge would, of course, attract a fee.
Retail Development at Bradley Way, Strabane
Councillor O'Kane expressed concern at the decision by Planning Service to refuse the planning application for retail development at Bradley Way, Strabane. It was noted that this matter was on the agenda for the Council meeting the following night. The Economic Development Officer advised that there was considerable activity with the Chamber of Commerce regarding Economic Development and the Council would be updated mid July.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICER'S REPORT
The Economic Development Officer introduced herself to the newly elected Members and presented her Report, a copy of which was previously circulated with particular reference to the following:-
Action Plan Award, Stage III
In response to a query by Councillor Hussey, the Economic Development Officer explained that the DED had not yet provided a breakdown of which projects were being supported. Councillor Hussey urged that strong representations be made in requesting that the entire Strabane District Council area should receive a higher allocation so as to take into account the deprivation and high unemployment. Councillor Hussey advised that he had tabled a Motion on this matter through another body. The Economic Development Officer commented that SOLACE had made representations and she undertook to follow this up with DED. She explained that applications had also been submitted to the European Social Fund.
MARI Infotrain Launch
It was noted that the Secretary of State, Mr Hume MEP, Mr Thompson MP, had attended the MARI Infotrain Launch earlier that day. The Chairman of the Council indicated that he had, as agreed by Council, passed on the letter regarding the Strabane By-Pass and the DSS to the relevant official during the Launch.
In response to concerns expressed by Councillor Barr regarding training service budgets, the Economic Development Officer advised that she met with the MARI officials on a monthly basis and discussions were ongoing in an attempt to dovetail a number of training projects.
Urney & District Development Association
It was agreed that the Council defer appointment of two nominees onto the above Association to the next available Council meeting. A funding request was deferred until all economic development funding was known.
Melmount Community Care
A funding request was deferred until all economic development funding was known.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor O'Kane, that the Council issue a "letter of intent" to the Group in support of the EC Youthstart Employment Initiative but that no financial commitment would be given.
Twinning Activity - Teacher Exchange
Following a query by Councillor Hussey, the Economic Development Officer advised that any school wishing to take part in Teacher Exchanges with Sioux Falls could do so independent of Council. The Economic Development Officer would make available details of all schools in Sioux Falls and arrange preliminary introductions.
Sioux Falls Delegation led by Bishop of Sioux Falls
In response to queries by Members, the Chief Executive pointed out that the itinerary for the Sioux Falls visit on 21 July 1997 would be finalised shortly and would include the Council providing lunch and a reception and invite religious leaders from all denominations within the district. This was agreed.
Intern for One Month
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor O'Kane, seconded by Councillor Mullen, that the Council invite Mr David Stenseth to the Strabane District Council area to work with the Economic Development Officer and Chamber of Commerce. It was noted that Mr Stenseth would be funding his own visit.
Sister Cities Conference - San Diego
Discussion ensued on the costs incurred by Council through Councillors and Members' attendance at conferences, seminars etc. Some Members queried the benefit to Council of attendance at same. The Chairman of the Council indicated that he would not be in favour of participating in trips abroad given the expense to Council and to this end suggested that a "video conferencing" facility could perhaps be used in the future.
Councillor Barr proposed, seconded by Councillor McHugh, that no-one attend the Sister Cities conference to be held in San Diego from 31 July to 3 August 1997 and that the correspondence be marked "read".
Councillor Hussey proposed as an amendment, seconded by Councillor Emery, that the matter be deferred pending a breakdown of the full costs involved.
Voting took place on the amendment and it was defeated by nine votes to five. Voting took place on the proposal and it was carried by nine votes to nil with two abstentions. It was agreed that the correspondence be marked "read".
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor McBride that information such as anticipated benefits, delegate fees, travel, subsistence and allowances etc. be circulated to Members with the agenda in respect of conferences, seminars etc. so as to allow proper consideration before taking a decision.
Expenditure by Economic Development Committee
Following a request by Councillor Murtagh, the Economic Development Officer undertook to provide Members with a breakdown of expenditure by the Economic Development Committee for the previous year.
Sioux Falls - Naming of Streets
The Economic Development Officer informed Members that the Mayor of Sioux Falls had earmarked two no. streets in Sioux Falls to be named Strabane Street and Strabane Trail and its Bishop would be bringing a photograph of the streets when he visited the area on 21 July.
The Economic Development Officer informed Members that two Mayors from Bulgaria and the Mayor of Gotse Delchev had visited Strabane on 21 June and attended the Hiring Fair and met with the Chief Executive and Chairman of the Council who hosted the party for lunch. Councillor Barr remarked that all Councillors should be afforded the opportunity to meet visitors to the area such as this and in response it was explained that this visit had been arranged at short notice.
Twinning with Lisieux, France
The Economic Development Officer explained that she was awaiting information relating to possible twinning with Lisieux, France from the Local Government Twinning Agency. Up-to-date information would be brought before the Committee in due course.
FEDA (Federation of Economic Development Authorities)
It was agreed, on the request of Councillor Hussey, that representatives of the above Group be invited to a future Committee meeting.
LEDIS (Local Economic Development Initiatives)
It was agreed that this item be deferred to the next meeting of the Committee.
Retrospective approval was granted, on the proposal of Councillor Mullen, seconded by Councillor O'Kane, to place advertisements in the newspapers listed. Councillors Hussey and McHugh commented that the Herald was not circulated in the Castlederg area and the Economic Development Officer undertook to follow this up.
The Economic Development Officer explained that an activity report on projects supported during 1995/97 would be circulated to Members.
Economic Development Strategy
Members were advised that the Economic Development Strategy was currently out-of-print but would be circulated when available.
The Economic Development Officer's Report was adopted subject to the foregoing.
Report on Town Twinning Conference held at Dublin Castle
on 29-30 May 1997
Members considered report on town twinning which was prepared by the Chief Executive and it was agreed that the concept be discussed at a later date. Councillor Hussey requested that CV's of the towns and villages in the District Council area should be drafted and circulated to Members prior to being submitted. The Economic Development Officer undertook to follow this up and liaise with the respective Councillors.
The Report on Town Twinning Conference held at Dublin Castle was adopted on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor O'Kane, subject to the foregoing.
The meeting closed at 10.25 pm.