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19th February 2001
Minutes of Meeting of the Economic Development Committee held in the Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane on Monday 19th February 2001 at 7.30pm
Present:- In the Chair:- Cllr. I. Barr Other Members:- Cllrs. Mrs A. Bell, A. Bresland, J. Donnell, J. Emery, D. Hussey, T. Kerrigan, C. McHugh, E. McMenamin, J. McNulty, I. Murtagh, J. O’Kane, E. Turner M.B.E. Total = 13 Apologies:- Cllr. T. McBride In Attendance:- Clerk & Chief Executive Economic Development Officer Administrative Assistant
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell, that a letter of Sympathy be forwarded to Ms Peggy McManus a former Councillor on the recent death of her brother Mr Billy Hyndman.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICER’S REPORT
The Economic Development Officer (EDO) presented her Report a copy of which had been previously circulated to each Member, discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
The EDO informed Members that the Community Plan has been summarised and it is planned to launch this summary at the Conference on the 23rd February. Three tenders have been received by the District Partnership for design and printing of this summary. Mitchell Kane Associates have been appointed to carry out this work based on a tender cost of £1825.00 plus additional scanning costs. However an additional cost of £525.00 will be incurred for increasing the size of the document from 12 pages to 16 pages. The entire cost will be shared on a 50:50 basis with the District Partnership.
Discussion ensued after which it was agreed on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Donnell, that Council approve the expenditure towards the design and printing together with the additional 4 pages subject to the satisfaction of the CE. It was further agreed that the document be made available at tomorrow night’s meeting for Members perusal although the CE did indicate that due to the time limit the draft document will have to be forwarded to the printer prior to the meeting.
The EDO continued to advise Members that 400 invitations have been sent out for the Conference and Tuesday 20th February 2001 is the closing date for reservation. It is imperative that everybody registers so that numbers of participants can be assessed. This was noted.
The EDO advised that Mr William McCarter, International Fund for Ireland, attended the last meeting of Strabane 2000 on the 1st February 2001. He was very positive about the achievements and vision of Strabane 2000 and confirmed that it was a project that the Fund would be interested in being associated with. However he did not feel that the funding of the pedestrian bridges could be supported by the Fund.
The CE commented that it was important for Council to examine other funding potential. He indicated that he has been involved in recent discussions with representatives of the Arts Lottery who may be interested in the project. He also considered that it was imperative that IFI are part of this flagship project and IFI have indicated a willingness to be as helpful as possible.
A number of Members voiced their support for the provision of pedestrian bridges.
Ernact Digital Economy Project
The EDO explained to Members that the INTERREG Programme is providing grant aid for the above project, however, they require match funding from the 4 Councils of the North West based on the formula for the NWRCBG.
Councillor McMenamin proposed, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell, that approval of £15,000 be granted by Council towards the implementation of the above project.
In response to Councillor Donnell, the EDO clarified that 35% is contributed from Derry and Donegal and 15% from Limavady and Strabane.
Strabane Lifford Development Commission
The EDO indicated that approval is sought from Council to contribute match funding of £11,500 for the financial year ahead of 2001/2. This match funding is necessary to secure the future of the Commission for the next year.
The CE in response to Councillor McNulty, explained that Council does not include the SLDC in its annual budget even though it has Council representation. Councillor Barr questioned the prospects of SLDC seeking funding from other sources, as he would be concerned that Council would be asked to fund on a permanent basis. Councillor McMenamin pointed out that SLDC has supported the promotion of the District and referred to the success of the Sculptures.
The CE in response to the comments advised that it is necessary to look to the future and consider whether to continue funding SLDC. He referred to the fact that the SLDC has acted as a useful vehicle for Council in terms of the Sculpture and Waterway Projects. As a result Council is essentially drawing in more money than it is paying out. The current funding for the organisation could be justified based on the level of service being provided. In addition the SLDC has commenced other preparation of its own business strategy, this strategy will provide the basis for consideration of future funding.
Discussion ensued after which it was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor McMenamin that Council support the SLDC and a match funding contribution of £11,500 be made.
Councillor O’Kane referred to the dilapidated condition of the hotel located at Lifford and requested the EDO to approach the SLDC to make a representation to Donegal County Council with regard to the demolition and clean up of the area as it is the gateway to Donegal.
Following further discussion it was agreed that this matter should be raised with SLDC for their consideration and action as appropriate.
Pathways to Europe Conference Thursday 22nd February 2001 – Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast – 9.30am – 3.00pm
The EDO indicated she will not be able to attend the above Conference due to other Council business.
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan that Councillor Hussey attends the above conference together with an Officer at the discretion of the CE.
An Invitation to Lunch with Sir Reg Empey MLA- Friday 9th March 2001, Wellington Park, Hotel, Belfast
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor McHugh that Councillor Mrs Bell attends the above lunch arranged by the Chamber of Commerce. The cost of lunch is £25 + VAT per person.
International Networking Conference, Stimulating Technology Commercialisation – Spires Centre, Belfast, 8th March 2001
Councillor Donnell, proposed, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that Councillor Turner attends the above Conference. Councillor Hussey proposed an amendment, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, that those Members on the Council’s Call Centre Team namely Councillor’s McBride, Kerrigan and McHugh who is ex-officio attend together with an Officer at the discretion of the CE. The amendment was accepted by Councillor Donnell. This was unanimously agreed.
Advertising The Herald – Commercial and Industrial Review
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell, that Council contribute £300 towards a full page coverage together with substantial editorial in the above Newspaper.
In response to Councillor Donnell’s query, the EDO agreed to seek clarification on the shop that distributes the Newspaper to Ballymagorry and report back.
West Tyrone Strategy
The EDO informed Members that a consultation for developing a strategy for West Tyrone will be carried out and public meetings are to be held to assist in the research. The meetings will be publicly advertised:-
Plumbridge – 22.2.01, Ballymagorry – 28.2.01, Newtownstewart – 1.3.01 Castlederg – 5.3.01.
It was unanimously agreed that Nuala Cormican from Western Sperrins Area Based Strategy be invited to a further Meeting of the Committee to update Members on the Strategy.
Date of Next Meeting
It was unanimously agreed that the next Meeting of the Economic Development Committee is held on 12th March 2001 due to the bank holiday on the 19th March 2001.
The Meeting ended at 9.15pm