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14th July 1999
Minutes of Meeting of Strabane District Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane on Wednesday 14 July 1999 at 7.30 pm
Present:- In the Chair:- Councillor I Murtagh Other Members:- Councillors Mrs A Bell, I Barr, D A Bresland, J Emery, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, C McHugh, J O’Kane, E Turner MBE Total = 11
Apology:- Councillor McMenamin
In Attendance:- Clerk and Chief Executive, Chief Environmental Health
Officer, Chief Recreation Officer, Chief Technical Officer,
District Chief Building Control Officer, Technical Services
Licensing Officer, Committee Clerk
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on 14 June 1999 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor McHugh.
Page 7 - Strabane Road, Castlederg
It was agreed, on the request of Councillor Hussey, that clarification be sought from Roads Service as to the definite start date for Phase II.
The Report of the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 15 June 1999 was adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor Hussey.
Page 8 - Coleraine Rural Housing Estates Pilot Project
Councillor Kerrigan advised that this seminar did not take place. This was noted.
The Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 17 June 1999 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, and signed by the Chairman, subject to the following:-
Page 3 - Chairman’s Remarks
Councillor McHugh stated, on a point of accuracy, that Councillor Murtagh was the first Nationalist from the Derg Electoral Area to be elected to the Chair and also the first person from County Cavan to be so honoured.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Cultural Committee held on 21 June 1999 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor McBride.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on 21 June 1999 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor McHugh, and signed by the Chairman, subject to the following amendment:-
Page 3 - Churchtown Park/Hillview, Castlederg
Councillor McHugh commented that traffic calming measures had been implemented at the above locations and not ramps as stated. It was agreed that the Minutes be amended accordingly.
Page 3 - Cranagh/Aughabrack/Douglas Bridge
In response to a query by Councillor McBride, the Chief Executive commented that the Chief Administrative Officer had been liaising with a number of Councillors and the officials from Roads Service regarding setting up a meeting to discuss speed limits. Roads Service had indicated that RUC Traffic Branch must be involved in any meetings. With regard to the various locations in the Castlederg area, it was being suggested that Members and officials meet in the Derg Valley Leisure Centre and site visits take place immediately afterwards. Similarly, with regard to the locations in Strabane, a meeting could be held in the District Council Offices with site visits afterwards. It was further suggested that the Glenelly area be visited following the town visits. This was agreed.
Page 6 - Bradley Way
Councillor O’Kane stated that the Keep Clear access at the junction of Ballycolman Road/Bridge Street and Melmount Villas was not a private access. He proposed that the Council request that ‘Keep Clear’ at this junction be changed to a ‘Yellow Box’ in line with Roads Service policy.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 22 June 1999 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Barr, and signed by the Chairman.
Page 2 - Seating in Council Chamber
In response to a query by Councillor O’Kane, the District Chief Building Control Officer, Mr Stewart, advised that he had been in touch with the manufacturers, suppliers and the architect with regard to the seating in the Council Chamber following concerns raised by Members. He explained that the heating and ventilation systems were not in full operation yet and when the computer was fully operational, humidity levels could be monitored. The chairs used previously in the Chamber were being re-covered and would be available for use, if necessary. Following a request by Councillor O’Kane, Mr Stewart undertook to demonstrate the operation of the chairs to individual Members as necessary.
Page 9 - Roads Matters
In response to a query by Councillor Emery, the Chief Executive confirmed that a letter had been sent to Lord Dubs and a reply was awaited.
Page 12 - Western Area Children and Young People’s Committee
Children’s Services Plan 1999-2002
Councillor O’Kane informed Members that he had attended the launch in the Mellon Country Inn on 29 June 1999 which was extremely informative. He indicated that he had arranged for the associated literature to be placed in the Members’ Library for general perusal. This was noted.
Page 14 - Membership of Committees
In response to a query by Councillor McHugh, the Chief Executive advised that those names listed in the minutes had been put forward at the meeting by Members and that each Party had undertaken to finalise their Members serving on the following groups to the Chief Administrative Officer as soon as possible. He stressed, however, that this information was still awaited in respect of the following bodies:-
Strabane District Partnership; NWIFHE/SDC Liaison Committee; LEAP;
Audit & Staff; John Dunlap; New Deal and Strabane/South Donegal
Page 20 - Library Provision
Councillor Hussey queried the up-to-date position regarding Library provision in Castlederg. The Chief Executive advised that a letter had been forwarded and a reply was awaited. Councillor Hussey requested that the Council’s representatives on the WELB raise this issue as a matter of priority. Councillor McHugh undertook to follow this up.
Page 20 - McNally’s Road, Castlederg
Following a query by Councillor Kerrigan, the Chief Executive confirmed that a letter had been sent to Roads Service and a reply was awaited.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on 28 June 1999 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Barr, and signed by the Chairman, subject to the following amendment:-
Page 1 - Suspension of Standing Orders
It was noted that Councillor Kerrigan had proposed the Suspension of Standing Orders and not the Chairman of the Council, as recorded in the Minutes. It was agreed that the Minutes be amended accordingly.
Page 7 - Sister Cities International Annual Conference - Little Rock, Arkansas -
22 to 24 July 1999
Councillor Hussey stated that the proposal was for the Council’s Chairman and two Councillors of cross-party representation attend together with an Officer, if appropriate. The Chairman of the Council contended that the Minute was an accurate recording of the proposal. Councillor Hussey requested that the notes of the meeting be checked and this was agreed.
Page 4 -Council’s Proposed Corporate Strategy
Councillor McHugh stated that the Council had agreed some time ago to incorporate the Irish translation in the crest. He reiterated his comments that despite the Council’s decision to amend the headed paper accordingly, this had not been done and he had highlighted this matter on a number of occasions. The Chief Executive advised that the stocks of paper were being used as it would be wasteful otherwise but undertook to follow this up.
Pages 6 & 7 - Sister Cities International Annual Conference - Little Rock, Arkansas
Councillor McHugh stated that the notice of the Council Meeting for 28 June 1999 had listed the Council’s Proposed Corporate Plan for discussion. Despite this, there were a number of other items raised at the meeting including attendance at the Little Rock conference. He stated that he was opposed to the Council’s decision to send four representatives to the conference particularly in view of the associated cost. He remarked that the Council had not sent any representatives the previous year. He expressed concern that a major decision such as this had been taken with only 7 Councillors present at the meeting and without prior notice having been given. He stated that he would have liked an opportunity to overturn the decision taken.
The Chairman of the Council referred to the Council meeting on 22 June at which 13 Councillors were present and at which it was agreed that the item be deferred for discussion at the Special Council meeting on 28 June in order to clarify a number of points. Whilst he was nominated to attend, he had advised the Chief Executive that he would not be attending. He also pointed out that during discussion of the Council’s Proposed Corporate Strategy on 28 June, he had felt it prudent to mention that only 6 of the 16 Councillors were present during the presentation and 7 Councillors were present for the adoption of an important document such as this. He remarked that there was no guarantee that the majority of Councillors would attend a Council meeting.
In response to a query by Councillor Hussey, the Chief Executive advised that Councillors Turner and Kerrigan had indicated to him that they would be interested in attending this conference.
The Chief Executive advised that a rescinding notice would be required to change the Council’s decision and six months had not elapsed.
Councillor O’Kane commented that in view of the differential in the costs for the conference reported to the Environmental Committee meeting, that discussion be deferred until the Environmental Minutes were being adopted. This was agreed.
The Minutes of the Environmental Committee Meeting held on 29 June 1999 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor O’Kane.
Page 4 - Carricklee Site Closure Plan
Reference was made by Councillor O’Kane to paragraph four and reiterated his concerns regarding the state of the site. He stated that he had been advised that an individual had contracted an infection at the refuse site and allegedly lost two limbs as a result. He also remarked that the Council had received strong criticism regarding the unsatisfactory state of the site in a recent press article.
The Chairman of the Council suggested that this item be discussed "In Committee" later in the meeting given its sensitive nature. The Chief Executive spoke of possible legal implications for the Council and concurred with the Chairman’s sentiments that this item be discussed "In Committee".
Councillor O’Kane enquired what steps had been taken to clear the site. He felt it would be profitable for the Council to have the site manned and also prevent unauthorised persons from scavenging and also opening packages which were dumped. He stated that he had raised these matters with the Chief Technical Officer. The Chief Executive suggested that this could item could be discussed later in the meeting in conjunction with the Chief Technical Officer’s report.
Page 12 - Sister Cities Conference
Councillor O’Kane reiterated his comments that there was an exorbitant increase in the estimated flight costs for this conference i.e. £640 to £809. The Chairman of the Council stated that in effect the Council was probably dealing with one person attending this conference.
Councillor McHugh reiterated the view that he could not foresee any great benefit in the content of this year’s conference in comparison with the previous year at which no-one attended from the Council. He felt that it was a waste of the Council’s finances to send anyone to this conference. He remarked that the total cost of attendance at the conference should be borne in mind. He reiterated his comments that he was totally opposed to the Council being represented at the conference.
Councillor Barr remarked that it was his understanding that this matter had arisen as a result of the recent visit by the Mayor of Sioux Falls.
Councillor Hussey stated that either the Council was serious about Sister Cities and twinning or it was not. If it was serious then it should be involved in the associated networking opportunities with the organisation to which the Council is affiliated. The conference had been held recently in Belfast and likewise it was only proper that the Council attend the conference at the location chosen by the organisers.
Councillor Turner queried whether anyone from the Nationalist side wished to attend the conference.
Councillor O’Kane reiterated his concerns regarding the exorbitant costs associated with the conference. He asked that his objections be recorded on the grounds of the costs involved.
With regard to the costs involved, Councillor Turner stated that he did not believe that the estimated costs reported to the Council were accurate. He was of the opinion that the costs incurred could be less than the sum originally reported to Council. On the issue of costs, the Chief Executive commented that the difficulty was that until bookings were actually finalised, the flight costs quoted varied. He reassured Members that any bookings made would be at minimum cost to the Council.
The Chairman of the Council stated that in his opinion only one Councillor from each tradition should attend. He then invited the Nationalist side to select a Councillor to attend. Councillor Barr commented that if one tradition failed to submit a Councillor then in line with custom and practice two Councillors should attend. Councillor Hussey remarked that the reasoning for the numbers put forward to attend was as a follow-on to information received from four other Councils in Northern Ireland which were sending representatives.
Councillor McHugh proposed that as there were no costings available for attendance at the conference, that the Council should not send anyone.
The Chief Executive pointed out that all the information available for the conference had been circulated to Members at the meeting on 21 June. The outstanding information was then provided to Members at the meeting on 28 June as agreed. The costs associated with his flight to Sioux Falls recently had been used as a guide to anticipated costs for attendance at the conference.
Reference was made by Councillor Turner to the Minutes of the Environmental Committee meeting held on 29 June. He stated that the Minute indicated that the Chairman, a Council Official and 2 elected Members be authorised to attend the conference. In the event that a Councillor from one of the traditions was not interested in attending, then 2 Councillors should attend. He deemed that the Environmental Committee Minutes were an accurate record of the meeting and which were now adopted.
Councillor Barr reiterated his comments that to some degree it had been custom and practice that when Councillors were delegated to attend an event, when it had been proposed that one from each tradition attend it had not been uncommon that where one tradition failed to nominate a Councillor to attend, that it did not mean that the Council reverted to a decision that only one Councillor attend.
Councillor Emery proposed, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that the two Councillors who had put their names forward should attend the conference.
Councillor McHugh asked to be recorded as being opposed to sending any Councillors to the conference given that the full costing to the Council had not been provided.
The Chief Executive commented that in the event that the Council accepts custom and practice, that it could accept the two nominations put forward in the context that one tradition had failed to nominate and there was general assent that the second position be filled. He suggested that it would be preferable if voting did not take place.
The Chairman of the Council concluded that there was general assent that the Council should send the two representatives named to the conference.
Councillor Barr queried if it was now accepted that nominations for the conference had now closed. The Chairman of the Council ruled that this was the case. Councillor McHugh remarked that Councillors who were not in attendance at the meeting tonight may have to be accommodated in the interests of fairness. The Chief Executive advised that it was imperative that bookings for the conference were made the following morning given the imminent departure date. He explained that it was now intended to proceed with the booking arrangements the following morning. This was agreed.
Councillor Hussey urged Members to bear in mind page 9 of the Environmental Committee Minutes - trip to Atlanta, Georgia to visit Heywood Environmental’s waste management and recycling facility. This was noted.
CHIEF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OFFICER’S REPORT
The Chief Environmental Health Officer, Mr Cosgrove, presented his Report, a copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell, that Ms Heather McLucas be authorised, under the Food Safety (NI) Order 1991, to carry out the duties involved in sampling food, inspection of food and food premises, seizure and detention of food and service of improvement notices.
It was agreed that the IT Officer attend the courses outlined in the report.
Food Standards Agency Levy Scheme
Mr Cosgrove advised Members that this Scheme would now be financed out of Central Government revenue.
Report of the Group Chief EHO for 1997/98
Members noted contents of the above report. It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, that it be placed in the Members’ Library for perusal by interested Members.
Drinking Water Quality Report 1998
Councillor O’Kane queried who was responsible for a burst water pipe upstream. Mr Cosgrove advised that this would be the responsibility of the Water Executive. From a public health point of view, the Director of Public Health would issue any Directives regarding the safety of drinking water. He further explained that the Environmental Health Officers act as agents for the Western Health & Social Services Board and where bursts occurred tests would be carried out on instruction from the Director of Public Health of the WH&SSB.
Environmental Health Out of Hours Service
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Bresland, approval in principle for a "Group wide on-call service" to be set up.
Mr Cosgrove referred to the Bio-Diversity Strategy which dealt with the control of Giant Hogweed. He suggested that the Council write to the Department stating that people who frequent river banks could assist in identifying the exact locations of the Giant Hogweed and become involved in a regional strategy for their removal. Councillor Barr queried if there was any obligation for the landowner to have these noxious weeds eradicated and Mr Cosgrove explained that they had responsibility. Difficulty was experienced at a local level informing landowners that the Giant Hogweed was on their property. However, DANI and the Rivers Agency may have access to this information. It was agreed to pursue this course of action.
Health Action Zones
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that the Council support a working group and bid for Health Action Zones in the Western Health & Social Services Board area.
Highway to Health
The Chairman of the Council voiced whole-hearted support for a second route for inclusion in the Highway to Health within the Council District. He also remarked that there were a number of scenic routes throughout the area which could possibly be considered. A number of Members concurred with these remarks.
Belfast Greener Vehicles Campaign 1998
Councillor Hussey enquired if there was an equivalent study carried out in the Republic given the number of HGV’s, cars etc. which are registered there. Mr Cosgrove undertook to clarify this matter and report back.
ADDENDUM TO CHIEF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OFFICER’S REPORT
Mr Cosgrove presented the Addendum to his Report, a copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
A Northern Ireland Consumer Advice and Information Web Site
In response to a query by Councillor Hussey, Mr Cosgrove advised that the costs to the respective Councils was pro rata and there may be a small ongoing maintenance cost. It was agreed that the Council participate in this scheme under the conditions outlined in the report.
The Report of the Chief Environmental Health Officer and the Addendum were adopted on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Bresland.
DISTRICT CHIEF BUILDING CONTROL OFFICER’S REPORT
The District Chief Building Control Officer, Mr Stewart, presented his Report, copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
Mr Stewart advised that amended drawings had been received in respect of BR/1999/117 - Gerard Devine, BR/1999/131 - Kevin Devine, BR/1999/141 - Helen McGrinder and the recommendation of refusal was, therefore, being withdrawn. This was agreed.
An extension of time had been requested in respect of BR/1999/138 - Kieran Hunter and BR/1999/144 - Joseph Doherty. It was agreed that an extension of 28 days be granted and that a refusal be issued after that time in the event that the outstanding information had not been received.
Council Stores and Car Parking
It was agreed to discuss this item "In Committee" later in the meeting.
Mr Stewart circulated examples of crests for consideration by Members and outlined, in detail, the background to same. He explained that it would be necessary to visit the Public Records Office in Belfast to clarify a number of points. Councillor Hussey reiterated previous requests for the design of the "boat" to be checked out. It was noted that clarification would also be sought on the style of the letters on the crest.
Following lengthy discussion, it was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, that Mr Stewart carry out further investigations and report back to Council in due course. It was further agreed that a Special Council Meeting be arranged to receive the report in order to allow adequate time for discussion of this issue.
The Report of the District Chief Building Control Officer was adopted, subject to the foregoing, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride.
CHIEF RECREATION OFFICER’S REPORT
The Chief Recreation Officer, Mr Morrison, presented his Report, a copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
Ulster Tourist Development Association Ltd
It was agreed that the Council pay the annual subscription of £500 to the Ulster Tourist Development Association.
British Airways Tourism Awards
It was agreed that any Councillor wishing to submit entries for the various categories within these Awards, should forward same to Mr Morrison before the end of August.
Newry & Mourne District Council - 2nd Annual Tourism Conference
11th National Tourism Conference - Ennis, Co. Clare
It was agreed that the Councillors serving on the Sperrin Tourist Development Association together with one Officer attend the above conferences to be held on 23 September 1999 and 26-27 November 1999 respectively. Councillor McBride indicated that he would be unable to attend the Newry & Mourne conference.
Mr Morrison advised that there were two potential sponsors and perhaps a third sponsor identified for the Millennium Clocks. Applications had been made to Planning Service and Council would be kept informed accordingly.
Ulster Automobile Club Ltd - 2001 Circuit of Ireland Rally
Mr Morrison explained that he was recommending that the Council give a positive indication that it would be interested in hosting this event to some degree. Councillor Hussey enquired if contact had been made with the Club concerned with regard to the requirements such as accommodation to be provided etc. He felt it was imperative that the Club’s expectations were fully discussed prior to arrangements being finalised. He queried whether the necessary infrastructure was in place within the area to accommodate a major event such as this and supported the matter being fully investigated and a report brought back.
It was agreed that the Council give a positive indication for hosting this event and that clarification be sought and a report brought back as outlined above.
Ulster Sports Trust
It was agreed that the Council pay its annual contribution of £100 to this Trust.
Millennium Official Launch
Mr Morrison advised Members that in order to mark the official Millennium period, arrangements were being made for the Chairman of the Council to link up "live" on radio with Sioux Falls, Australia and New Zealand. Councillors would be kept informed of the details of this symbolic type event.
Official Use of SCORE Site
It was agreed that all usage of this site be formally booked through the Recreation Department.
It was agreed that the Council approve a 25% increase in the proposed allocations, as outlined in the report.
Letter from Strabane & District Sports and Recreation Advisory Committee
It was agreed that the second instalment to the Committee be paid in September 1999 rather than November 1999, as outlined in the report. It was also agreed that the Council take into account the updating of the Council minibus for use by both disabled and able-bodied organisations.
Use of Council Equipment
It was agreed that where voluntary, sporting, community and charity organisations hire various items of equipment through the Leisure Centres i.e. mostly tables and chairs, that they be granted a 50% reduction on the hire charge.
Omagh Community Church
It was agreed that this Group be granted use of the Derg Valley Leisure Centre on 5 August 1999 at an approximate cost of £227 for a Christian Youth Event.
Newtownstewart & District Ulster Scots Association
The Chairman of the Council enquired if this was a one day event. Councillor McHugh stated that he was not opposed to the application received but contended that there was an element of exclusion with regard to the event organised. He remarked that minimal amounts of grant aid were being awarded for various events listed under the Community Relations section of the Report, some of which involved a number of days, however, there did not appear to be equity of funding.
Mr Morrison advised that some of the applications for grant aid referred to were dealt with under the Community Festivals budget and, therefore, different levels of funding were agreed by Council.
It was agreed that 75% funding i.e. £1,125 be paid towards this project under the Community Relations budget.
Dunamanagh Community Development Project
It was agreed that the 75% funding i.e. £1,242.75 be paid towards this project under the Community Relations budget.
It was agreed that the sum of £300 be awarded towards this event from the Festivals Grant Aid Programme.
Strabane & District Women Together
It was agreed that 75% funding in the sum of £176.25 be paid towards this venture under the Community Relations budget.
The Cost of the Troubles
Councillor Hussey commented that an extensive programme should be provided given the Council’s suggested contribution of £1500. He also requested details of the Outreach programme. In declaring a non-financial interest, he advised that he had been contacted two years previously by this group with regard to a contribution.
It was agreed that the Council contribute the sum of £1500 and that Mr Morrison liaise with Councillor Hussey directly regarding the details which he requested, as outlined above.
It was agreed that the Council contribute the sum of £500 towards this training initiative.
Counteract/Churchtown Community Relations Strategy
It was agreed that the Council contribute £600 towards this strategy under the Community Relations budget.
The Report of the Chief Recreation Officer was adopted on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, subject to the foregoing.
CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER’S REPORT
Mr Scott, Chief Technical Officer, presented his Report, a copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
Millennium Sculpture Trail - Lifford Road Site
Councillor Hussey voiced concern at the request to Council by Roads Service to provide £3.5k towards the provision of a lay-by at this location. He queried why the Council was being requested to provide funding for such a facility given that it was highly probable that Roads Service would have to provide this in the future. Councillor Barr suggested that a meeting could be held to discuss this matter further and recommendations be brought back to Council. Mr Scott pointed out that Roads Service plans were at the design stage and it was, therefore, imperative that the meeting was arranged as a matter of priority.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, that all-party representation together with the Chief Executive, Chief Recreation Officer and Chief Technical Officer meet on site to discuss this issue with Roads Service officials.
Derg Castle Park, Castlederg - Unsocial Behaviour
Concern was expressed by Councillor Kerrigan at the unsocial behaviour of young people at the Castle Park Site, especially at week-ends. He explained that he had received numerous complaints from the public and had recently visited the Site. He also spoke of the possible drowning hazard given the close proximity to the river and to this end urged that safety fencing be erected along the river bank. He referred to a portion of the river known as "Castle hole" which was particularly deep and a fatality had occurred in the past. He reiterated his request for ‘Alcohol Free Zone’ signs to be erected as this would enable the police to take the necessary action against those apprehended.
Councillor Hussey concurred with Councillor Kerrigan’s comments. He indicated that he had also received complaints from members of the public and had passed the information on to the police. He supported the designation of an ‘Alcohol Free Zone’. He pointed out that the signage at the Site had been damaged in the past. He was of the opinion that local people had caused this damage and that the problems experienced had to be tackled by the Council and the police.
Councillor Mrs Bell expressed concern at under-age drinking in housing estates and suggested that the designated areas should be extended to help tackle this problem.
Councillor Emery stated that he had also received complaints and had visited the Site and observed that the barbecue facilities and the seating had been damaged. He condemned the vandalism. He commended the Technical Services Department for removing the litter from the Site. He remarked that the continued vandalism of this Site, which was provided by the Council, would deter visitors to the area. He voiced support for the police to be informed and to take the necessary action.
Councillor Turner concurred with previous speakers. He condemned the vandalism of the Site and urged the Council to do likewise. He also condemned vandalism across the entire Council area and called on the various groups from within the area to join in condemnation. The Chairman of the Council also condemned the vandalism.
Councillor Turner commented that the facilities at the Castle Site were provided by the Council and were, therefore, owned by the ratepayers. He proposed that the Chief Executive write to the various Churches and the RUC and any other relevant bodies in an effort to tackle this problem and urged that the designated Alcohol Free Zone areas be extended.
The Technical Services Licensing Officer, who was present at the meeting, advised that the particular area referred to was a designated area and the signs had been vandalised and also stolen in the past. With regard to housing estates, some areas were included in the schedule but specific areas that were not designated where a problem existed could be identified and included in the bye-laws if Council so wished.
The Chief Executive suggested that the Council could convene a meeting of the relevant bodies, local clergy, the RUC and community representatives to discuss the issue. Councillor Turner indicated that he would be agreeable to the Chief Executive’s recommendation. This was seconded by Councillor Kerrigan and unanimously agreed by Council.
Councillor Emery proposed, from a safety point of view, that the provision of life belts be investigated at the Castle Site as it is a public park. This was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan.
Derg Castle Park, Castlederg
Mr Scott advised Members that the DOE had enquired if the Council wished to accept the transfer from DOE of the site (known as Walls site) adjacent to the Derg Castle Park. Councillor Hussey suggested that until the Council had proposals for the use of the Site that a decision be deferred.
In response to a query, Mr Scott advised that the area concerned was 1.5 to 2 acres of land. Councillor McHugh spoke of a Council decision that this area would remain an open area.
Councillor Barr proposed, seconded by Councillor Hussey, that the Chief Executive and the Chief Technical Officer research this matter further and bring back a recommendation to Council.
Councillor McHugh commented that traders had been seeking access on to the rear roadway and car parking facilities had also been considered. Councillor Hussey remarked that car parking facilities may be beneficial.
Douglas Bridge Football Club
Mr Scott advised that the Club was enquiring if the Council would request the Valuation & Lands Agency to provide an estimate for purchase of the site. Councillor McBride queried who would pay for the valuation. In response Mr Scott advised that the Council would be paying for the valuation in the event that it agreed to carry it out and it would cost in the region of £100 to £150. Following a query, Mr Scott explained that the Council could request the Club to pay for the valuation given that it had initiated the request.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, that Mr Scott liaise with the Club representatives and establish if they were prepared to meet a portion of the cost of the valuation and that a report be brought back to Council.
Renewal of Lease - Lands at Magirr 13.54 Acres
It was agreed that this lease be renewed at a rental of £3,300 per annum and that this agreement remain in force for a period of 5 years maximum subject to annual inflation review.
Refurbishment of Play Park at Glenmornan
It was agreed that further clarification be sought in relation to the public liability insurance and Council continue to try to resolve the matter of the access road.
Spamount Former Landfill Site
Councillor McHugh stated that Council had earlier agreed that this Site would be developed into pitches and that a gaelic pitch would be provided. He voiced his total support for the development of the Site but sought assurance from the Chief Technical Officer that a facility would be provided on which gaelic games could be played and also Association football. Mr Scott undertook to clarify the matter with the Spamount Cross Community Association and report back.
Development of Play and Recreation Area at Hillview, Castlederg
Mr Scott advised Members that the insurance aspects of this site and the Spamount site together with the site at Glenmornan would have to be treated in a similar way.
It was agreed that the Council enter into a partnership agreement with the Association.
Development of Play Area of Astroturf Pitch at Fountain Street, Strabane
Mr Scott advised Members that he was recommending that the Council seek further information in relation to the maintenance of an Astroturf pitch prior to taking any decision. Whilst welcoming any Group developing its facilities, Councillor Hussey felt that the Council could perhaps investigate such a facility for the future.
Sion Mills Play Area
Mr Scott outlined the background to this item and advised that a legal opinion had been sought and the Group informed that it was in contradiction of the agreement. Despite having written on two occasions, a response had not yet been received. A request had also been made for a meeting to be held to try to resolve the matter but the Group had not responded to this. Councillor McBride contended that the Council should reconsider a partnership agreement with a Group which does not comply with the necessary stipulations.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor McBride, that the Council’s Chief Executive write to the Group outlining the current position and emphasising the need for a response.
Pedestrian Footbridge at Ballynamallaght, Aghabrack, Donemana
Councillor Emery commented that he had received a lot of favourable comments in respect of this footbridge.
Mitchell Park - Development of Second Soccer Pitch
Councillor Hussey expressed disappointment at the outcome of discussions with the Foundation of Sport and Arts regarding funding. He stated that there was a lot of interest in soccer in the area and he was aware of at least four football teams having to travel outside the area for facilities. He urged the Council to take on board that one pitch or perhaps two were needed. He also urged that if the finances were available that the project should go ahead as soon as possible. Councillor Kerrigan concurred with these remarks.
Councillor McHugh concurred with the need for recreational space to be provided in the Castlederg area. He spoke of various attempts in the past to provide a gaelic football pitch and commented that there were at least nine gaelic football teams in the area. He also felt that recreational space would help to tackle the problems of street drinking etc. which had been highlighted earlier in the meeting.
The Chairman of the Council supported the need for multi-pitch facilities. Mr Scott undertook to continue to investigate the whole issue further.
Reference was made by Councillor Hussey to finance generated from the sale of Vaughan’s Holm and urged that the necessary funding be directed towards the provision of facilities in Castlederg as outlined above.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that the Audit and Staff Committee discuss this issue further at its next meeting and report back to Council.
Car Parking at Strabane Cemetery
In response to a query by Councillor O’Kane, Mr Scott advised that the existing cattle grid at the Cemetery would be replaced. Councillor O’Kane urged that this be carried out as soon as possible.
Town Centre CCTV Challenge Competition
Councillor Kerrigan suggested that Strabane and Castlederg be entered for this competition. He advised that he had attended a seminar in Gateshead at which it was reported that immense success had been experienced in Newcastle.
Councillor McHugh remarked that he understood that the Council had not been represented at previous seminars. He also felt that as the police would have been running the seminars, that the Council had decided not to send representatives. He further stated that in the event that the correspondence had been received from the police authority, all Councillors should have had access to this information and therefore taken a decision on this. Councillors, however, did not have this information.
Mr Scott stated that detailed information had been received and it could be circulated to Members if Council so wished.
Councillor Hussey remarked that the Council had been discussing the surveillance and identification of individuals causing vandalism etc. and ways to resolve this problem. He requested detailed information on the actual running costs of the scheme when the equipment had been installed.
Councillor Turner suggested that Mr Scott attend the seminar to be held in Templepatrick. He understood that the Chamber of Commerce in Strabane and other groups were interested in installing cctv in order to tackle vandalism etc. With regard to monitoring cctv, he understood that this was recorded on tape. He felt it would be beneficial for Councillors and Officers to attend this seminar.
Councillor Emery commented that a small-scale scheme had operated very successfully in Plumbridge recently. Councillor Bresland remarked that he was aware of two villages which would be interested in cctv.
It was agreed that Mr Scott attend the seminar in Templepatrick on 28 July 1999 and report back to Council.
Fabrication and Construction of Waste Transfer Station
It was agreed that this item be deferred for discussion with the District Chief Building Control Officer’s Report later in the meeting.
Provision of Bus Shelters in NI
Kinkit Crossroads - Councillor Emery advised that the problems at this bus shelter had been resolved. This was noted.
Carricklee Refuse Site
Councillor O’Kane reiterated his request for this Site to be manned which would ensure that it was kept clean and safe and prevent trespassers. Mr Scott acknowledged that the Site had been in a very bad condition the previous week. The firm which collected the waste from the Site had experienced a mechanical breakdown but every effort was being made to resolve the matter. A meeting had also been arranged with the contractor involved. He stated that there was an ongoing problem of scavenging at the Site.
Councillor O’Kane proposed that the Council have the Site manned. He referred to a recent media report where a member of the public had complained about the cost of purchasing tape for disposal of waste which was subsequently being removed by trespassers at the Site.
Mr Scott undertook to investigate the matter and report back. The Chief Executive advised the broader issue of waste management could be discussed later in the meeting.
Toilets - Plumbridge
In response to a query by Councillor McBride, Mr Scott advised that there was a delay in the contractors painting these toilets, however, this should be carried out shortly.
The Report of the Chief Technical Officer was adopted on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Bresland, subject to the foregoing.
Provision of Clock in the Council Chamber
Councillor Turner requested that the clock be reinstated in the Council Chamber. He also stated that a clock was presented to the Council for the Chairman’s Office by a former Chairperson, Mrs Britton, and he expressed the hope that it would be displayed in the Chairman’s new office.
Tenders - Refurbishment of Units at Greenbrae
Mr Cosgrove reported that no tenders had been received for the refurbishment of 2 no. units at Greenbrae. He suggested that investigations be carried out into refurbishment of the units and a report brought back to Council.
This was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Barr.
TECHNICAL SERVICES LICENSING OFFICER’S REPORT
The Technical Services Licensing Officer, Mr Turner, presented his Report, a copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
The Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (NI) Order 1985
Application for Provisional Grant of Amusement Permit - Mr Mark Neeson re. Premises at Separate Room within Hustlers Snooker and Pool Hall, 17 Abercorn Square, Strabane
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Turner, that this item be discussed "Into Committee" later in the meeting.
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (NI) Order 1995
Naming of New Housing Development - Stoney Heights, Castlederg
Councillor McHugh requested that the developer be requested to re-submit a name for this new housing development as the name submitted was not acceptable.
The Report of the Technical Services Licensing Officer was adopted, on the proposal of Councillor Turner, seconded by Councillor McHugh, subject to the foregoing.
The meeting adjourned for a tea break at 11.05 pm and recommenced at 11.20 pm.
Authorisation of Banking Mandates
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Barr, that the Clerk and Chief Executive, Chief Administrative Officer and Acting Head of Finance be authorised to sign cheques on the various accounts on behalf of the Council.
Visit to Laganside
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that the Council accept the invitation from the Duke of Abercorn to visit Laganside for a comprehensive briefing on the challenges of urban renewal be accepted. It was noted that all Members would be contacted regarding the arrangements.
Rating of Shops and Post Offices in Rural Communities
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, that the Council support Fermanagh District Council with regard to the introduction of a rate rebate system for shops and post offices in rural communities.
Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency from Ofreg
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor Hussey, that any Councillor wishing to comment on the above consultation paper should submit same to the Chief Executive before 31 August 1999.
Towards a Community Relations Strategy
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Murtagh, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, that any Councillor wishing to comment on the above consultation paper should submit same to the Chief Executive early September.
Burial Right Grants
The following Form of Grant of Right of Burial was signed and sealed on behalf of the Council:-
Mr Roy Donnell
18 Baronscourt Road
NEWTOWNSTEWART - 1 Plot
Mr Robert Sproule
14 Breezemount Park
CASTLEDERG - 1 Plot
Mr John Campbell
4 Brookfield Park
LIMAVADY - 1 Plot
Mr Garnet McCay
SION MILLS - 2 Plots
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Emery, that the meeting go "Into Committee".
It was unanimously agreed that the Council send a letter of sympathy to Mr & Mrs Tierney on the sudden death of their son Emmett. It was noted that Mr Tierney was a Councillor on Derry City Council.
Review of Acute Hospital Services
It was agreed that the Council request a time slot at the public meeting organised by the Western Health & Social Services Board to be held in the Council Offices, Strabane Hospital Building. It was further agreed that Members be advised of the arrangements for the meeting accordingly.
Planning Appeals Commission: Principles of Decision-Making in Appeals,
Inquiries and Hearings
Councillor Kerrigan advised that he had attended the seminar in the Queen’s University of Belfast on 1 July 1999 and submitted a copy of the publication which he had obtained at the seminar to the Chief Executive for perusal by interested Members.
Publications - Members’ Library
It was agreed that the following publications received be placed in the Members’ Library for perusal by interested Members.
Planning Appeals Commission, Bulletin No. 3 - March 1999
Planning Appeals Commission, Bulletin No. 4 - April 1999
Executive Briefing - Report from the Board of the NIHE held on 30 June 1999
Reducing Alcohol - Related Harm in Northern Ireland - A Report to DHSS by
the Project Team - June 1999
Annual Report & Accounts - Commission for Racial Equality for NI - 1998-1999
Laois County Council Centenary Book - The First 100 Years
Biodiversity Strategy Proposals - June 1999
Water Service - Drinking Water Quality Report 1998 & Business Plan 1999-2000
BBC (NI) Annual Review 1998/99
Adjourned Council Business
As it was now 12.05 pm it was agreed that the meeting be adjourned and outstanding business be dealt with at a future Council meeting.
DATED this 14th day of JULY 1999
Clerk and Chief Executive
DATED this 24th day of AUGUST 1999