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5th July 2005
Minutes of the Special Meeting of Council held on Tuesday 5 July 2005 at 7.30 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane.
Present:- In the Chair: Councillor B McMahon
Other Members: Councillors I Barr, A Bresland, D Breslin, J Donnell, J Emery, G Foley, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, C McGill, K McGuire, J McNulty, J O’Kane
Total = 14
In Attendance: Chief Environmental Health Officer, Mr Pat Doherty, Roads Service
Mr Sam Young, Roads Service
Mr Garth Earls, Tellus Project
Mr Conall McDevitt, Tellus Project,
Apologies: Councillor E McMenamin
Heron Bros. Proposed Retail Development – Dublin Road Industrial Estate
The Chairman referred to a letter from Pragma Planning, which had been circulated for Members’ information. He noted that the letter which was submitted on behalf of Heron Bros. confirmed that they were not currently in a position to make a presentation to Council. The Chairman noted that, at short notice the representatives from the Tellus Project had agreed to attend the meeting.
Roads Service - Divisional Roads Manager’s Report
The Chairman noted for Members’ information that Mr David McKinley, Roads Service as specified on the agenda was unable to attend the meeting and that Mr Sam Young was in attendance together with Mr Pat Doherty. He requested the co-operation of Members to keep any queries or comments relevant to the Report from Roads Service and noted that a form had been circulated for Members’ attention for appropriate minor queries to be submitted to Roads Service at the end of the meeting.
Councillor Barr gave notice that he wished to raise an issue with the representatives from Roads Service, which was not included in the report, but which he felt was urgent prior to a forthcoming meeting of Strabane 2000.
The Chairman welcome Mr Doherty, Divisional Roads Manager and Mr Young to the meeting and invited them to make their presentation.
Mr Doherty thanked Council for the opportunity to present the report. He noted that Mr McKinley was currently on holiday and that Mr Sam Young, Assistant Section Engineer would be available to respond to any queries from Members.
Mr Doherty said that the report included details of maintenance and capital improvements carried out during 2004/05 and the programmes of work for 2005/06.
He noted that over £3 million was spent on the structural network within the district, which he said was in line with increased funding for this work. He noted that 85% of the £3 million was spent on B, C and unclassified routes and referred to pages 4 to 7 of the report which outlined the resurfacing work undertaken which amounted to 51.4 km. He also referred to pages 7 to 9 of the report, which set out the surface dressing work undertaken, which amounted to 133.6 km. He noted that in all, 185 km of work was undertaken which represented 14% of the road network in the Strabane district.
Mr Doherty reported that almost £2.7 million would be spent on structural maintenance, which he said was a reduction on last year’s funding but was reflected in reduction across the Road Service for such work. He said that they would continue to bid for additional funding but felt that, at this stage it did not look hopeful. He referred to recent re-allocations of funding e.g. £12 million for education etc and cautioned that such re-allocations of funding may affect the funding that would normally have been available to Roads Service.
Mr Doherty referred to pages 19 to 22 of the report, which set out the proposed resurfacing work for 2005-06 on the minor route network including Berryhill Road and Drumquin Road. He noted that there was a typographical error at the bottom of page 20 of the report where the length of road referred to at Duncastle Road should be 4,895 and not 11,895 as stated.
Mr Doherty reported that almost £890,000 was spent on Local Transport and Safety Measures (LTSM) last year, which was a significant increase from the previous year and was the highest expenditure in the district in recent times. He referred to the schemes as listed on pages 11 and 12 of the report which included the right hand turning lane at Grangefoyle, Burndennet, the provision of a footway at Liscurry Brae and traffic calming measures in Castlederg and Killen.
He referred to the work for the current year as listed on pages 24 to 26 of the report and noted that the first listed scheme at the top of page 24 (A5 Victoria Bridge) should be deleted and that the Cloughcor project itemised on page 25 would be part of a larger scheme in the next few years. He referred to the schemes at Melmount Road/Peacock Road, Sion Mills; the right hand turning lane at Loughnease Road/Victoria Road; the provision of traffic calming measures in Ballycolman, Springhill and Sion Mills and the footway schemes at Killymore Road, Newtownstewart and Ligford Road, Plumbridge. On the latter he reported that it was hoped to secure the necessary land this year.
He referred to an additional scheme since the report was compiled at John Welsey Street and understood from discussions with the Chief Executive that Members were happy that £75,000 was to be utilised to support the scheme.
Strategic Road Improvements
Mr Doherty reported that it had been hoped last year to include stage 3 of the Strabane By-Pass in the 10-year forward planning schedule. He added that these hopes had been surpassed and was pleased to report that in March 2005 the previous Minister, John Spellar, included the scheme in the Regional Strategic Transport Network Transport Plan 2015 (RSTNTP). Therefore the scheme was in the 5-year preparation pool, which would cover the statutory process. He added that consultants had recently been commissioned to take the design forward. It was expected that it would take up to 2 years to complete the appropriate studies and orders and, subject to there being no objections or public enquiries, construction work could commence in Spring 2008.
Mr Doherty referred to the Strabane/Lifford link road, which was a cross border programme, led by Donegal County Council. He noted that he had recently written to Council regarding a forthcoming public exhibition. He said that the environmental statement was expected to be published in May 2006 but it was unclear when work would commence, as it was dependent on funding and the statutory process.
Mr Doherty also referred to the following issues:
Ø Bridge replacement schemes as outlined on page 29 of the report
Ø Street lighting programmes as outlined on page 30 of the report
Ø Adopted roads as outlined on page 32 of this report
He noted a typographical error at Dergvale, Castlederg which should read 230m and not 900m. He also noted that 2 schemes were listed at Lismore Park where in fact it should be 1 site at Primrose Park, Sion Mills.
Ø Contact information for Road Service staff, which he hoped would be of assistance to Members.
In conclusion, Mr Doherty thanked all Members, the Chief Executive and staff for the excellent co-operation afforded to Roads Service staff over the year. He said that it was essential to work in partnership to secure and maintain vital funding levels needed to develop and improve work undertaken in the district. He noted his concern regarding decreasing funding for structural maintenance and asked Members to lobby whenever possible in this regard.
The Chairman thanked Mr Doherty for the presentation of the report and invited queries and comments from Members.
Councillor Emery welcomed the representatives and thanked them for the good work undertaken to date. He noted his appreciation for all the assistance given to him over the year from both the Omagh and Strabane offices. He raised the following issues:
Ø Pedestrian crossing at Ballymagorry - he said that it had been hoped that a scheme would have been forthcoming
Ø Welcomed the work at Liscurry Brae – some residents still experiencing access problems from the footpath
Ø Welcomed the proposed work at Keery Road
Ø Duncastle Road, Donemana – requested the provision of a footway to the cricket ground
Ø Tievenny Road Ardstraw – excess surface water
Mr Doherty thanked Councillor Emery for the appreciative remarks. He noted the comments regarding Tievenny Road and Keery Road. Mr Young said that work at Duncastle Road was already on the composite list for minor works. Mr Doherty noted that would mean it would move up the list each year. He said that the work at Liscurry Brae had been frustrating but was pleased to report that it had now been completed including the access problems for some residents. With regard to pedestrian crossings, he said that Roads Service was continuing to urge for a review of the current criteria. He noted his personal view that a pedestrian crossing at Ballymagorry would be beneficial.
Councillor McGill welcomed the representatives. She raised the following issues:
Ø Diversion of funding – detriment of other departments
Ø Welcome feedback regarding improvements at Lisnaragh/Aghabrack Road
Ø Speed limit at Camus Park is too high – urge Roads Service to review the matter
Ø Glenroan Bridge – disappointed with the delay but welcome that the project was now progressing
Ø Accessibility of information from Roads Service*
Mr Doherty asked that Members contact him should they find it difficult accessing information or staff at Road Service offices. He noted that he had received no complaints in this regard. He said that he had previously not been content with what had been proposed at Glenroan Bridge but that it had now been restyled and was currently with the design team. He said that he was aware of the issues regarding Camus Park and noted the criteria regarding speed limits i.e. continuous frontage of up to 600 metres with Camus Park being approximately 200 metres. In response to a query from Councillor McGill, Mr Doherty said that this could incorporate one side of a road or two sides but that it would be site specific. He noted that it was a low traffic road generally used by local residents. He thanked Councillor McGill for the welcome feedback on the Lisnaragh Road scheme and said that it was helpful to find owners who were willing to give up their land in order to make these improvements at junctions. He stressed that he was speaking in general terms when he had made reference to funding being diverted to other areas.
Councillor Donnell welcomed the representatives and thanked Roads Service for their help over the year. He acknowledged in particular Mr Young’s assistance. He raised the following issues:
Ø Disappointed with delays at Liscurry Brae, Victoria Bridge and Hamilton’s Corner
Ø Welcomed the proposed work at Keery Road – liaison required with Drainage Council to request an enhanced grid as neglect would result in flooding
Ø Commended Roads Service for work undertaken at Grange Corner
Ø Liskey Road/Conthem Road – request for scheme due to dangerous section of road
Ø Berryhill Road: Artigarvan Primary School to Pine Road
Ø Welcomed all issues contained in the report
Mr Doherty referred to the scheme at Berryhill Road as itemised on page 24 of the report and said that it was hoped that the land could be acquired. He also referred to the scheme at Liskey Road/Conthem Road as listed on page 24 of the report where land also needed to be acquired. He noted the issue of flooding at Keery Road. He advised Members that Roads Service had 2 or 3 main contractors working on 5 or 6 different schemes with the contractors using the same sub contractors, which resulted in a number of delays. He accepted Members’ criticism in this regard and noted his own disappointment with regard to delays on these schemes.
Councillor McBride raised the following issues:
Ø Support for pedestrian crossing at Ballymagorry
Ø Concern raised regarding any cutbacks in funding for maintenance on minor roads
Ø Speed limits and familiarity of signs which were ignored – consideration to be given to larger signage
Ø Welcomed footway at Glenock Church
Ø Welcomed progress on stage 3 of Strabane By-Pass
Ø Ligford Road/Lisnaragh Road start date
Ø Gortin Glen Road
Mr Doherty said that there were difficulties in identifying the owners of the land on the corner of Ligford Road/Lisnaragh Road and that a notice would be erected soon in this regard. He said he would welcome any assistance from Members on this issue. He advised Members of the improvements to unstable side fillings on the Gortin Glen Road into Omagh. He noted that in Gortin Glen itself the proposal was to move the road over in stages. He said that gateway signage, which was much larger could be beneficial to reduce speeding however, they were often difficult to fit into road verges. He acknowledged that the impact of speed signs on drivers did decrease over time and became an enforcement issue. With regard to pedestrian crossings, he said that Sion Mills unlike Ballymagorry had a 4-way junction, which met the appropriate criteria.
Councillor Kerrigan welcomed the representatives and said that Roads Service had always been very helpful. He raised the following issues:
Ø Welcomed the scheme at Killen
Ø Speeding traffic on the approach to Killen from Enniskillen – potential for traffic calming measures similar to strips at Castledawson roundabout which he felt were effective
Ø Dergvale scheme – surface of the ramps needs urgent attention
Ø Adoption of Hazelgrove not in the report
Ø Welcomed work at Learmore Road
Ø Welcomed work at Kilclean Road – noted one remaining dangerous corner
Ø Welcomed proposed scheme at Drumquin Road and hoped for the work to be extended on the Castlederg side of Drumquin to include cats eyes
Ø Disappointed with lack of street lighting scheme within Castlederg area
Mr Doherty referred to the proposed street lighting scheme for the Drumquin Road as itemised on page 30 of the report. He said that he appreciated the remarks on the good work that had been undertaken to date. He noted the recurring theme with regard to speed limits and said he would liaise with the traffic section on the issues raised. He said that he understood that the completion of the work at Hazelgrove was imminent.
Councillor Foley welcomed the representatives. He raised the following issues:
Ø Clady Bridge – requested an update on the installation of traffic lights and noted that due to the volume of traffic, the surface of the bridge required attention and there was also a problem with the water drainage
Ø Welcomed the proposed work for Main Street Clady but felt that traffic would increase and requested consideration of islands as a measure to slow traffic down
Mr Doherty referred to the proposed work at Clady Bridge as itemised on page 26 of the report. He said that the scheme was being led by Roads Service who was waiting for written consent and approval from Donegal County Council that they were happy for the scheme to proceed and that they would part fund the project. He referred to the differences between the sequence of traffic lights in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and said that some concern had been raised regarding pedestrians on the bridge. He noted the references to the cracked surface of the bridge and water drainage and agreed to investigate these at the earliest convenience. He said that the work on Main Street, Clady would extend passed the newly erected houses and advised that the village would be re-assessed regarding traffic calming measures.
Councillor Barr welcomed the representatives. He raised the following issues:
Ø Welcomed the decision regarding the John Welsey Street Scheme
Ø Welcomed the report that stage 3 of the Strabane By-Pass had been brought forward to the 5 year stage
Ø Strabane/Lifford link road – possible need for new bridge
Ø Multi-storey car park in Strabane town – Strabane 2000 had emphasised the pressing need for additional car parking spaces
Ø Junction of Ballyfatten Road/Melmount Road – produced photographs of site for removal/storage of rubble which was causing distress to local residents
Mr Doherty agreed to look at the photographs and consider options for tidying the site. He added that he was not aware of any long term plans to relocate the site. He said that ongoing transport studies were well under way which included car parking. He referred to multi-storey car parks, which he felt were effective when attached to supermarkets or shopping centres. He noted that multi-storey car parks had to be charging at least 60p-70p per hour in order to make them work and he had concerns on such high charges. He said that Roads Service was comfortable with the number of car parking spaces in Strabane town. He appreciated the views on the Strabane/Lifford link and Strabane By-Pass and welcomed Council’s role. He said that he had not yet had the opportunity to respond in writing to the Chief Executive regarding the scheme at John Wesley Street but asked that it be relayed to the forthcoming meeting of Strabane 2000 that the finance would be available for the scheme and that he would confirm this in writing in due course.
Councillor Bresland welcomed the representatives and congratulated them on the report. He raised the following issues:
Ø Berryhill Road/Glencosh Road - small section of road very narrow
Ø Footway at Donemana – missing section between public toilets and industrial area
Ø Duncastle Road at Tullyard – dangerous bend where there was a need to slow traffic down
Mr Doherty asked Members to contact him if they knew of the landowners at these locations. He said that Roads Service was trying to promote a scheme at the Donemana Primary School, which included endeavouring to encourage residents to walk up the hill. Mr Young said that there was a proposal to re-surface the approach corner at Tullyard and improve the skid surface.
Councillor O’Kane raised the following issues:
Ø Bearney Bridge/’Swinging Bridge’ – residents had not been able to use the bridge for access to Sion Mills
Mr Doherty said that he understood that the bridge was open to pedestrians as from that day. He noted that some of the delays to the work at the bridge were partly due to levels of vandalism.
Councillor Breslin welcomed the representatives. He raised the following issues:
Ø Pattens Road/Spout Road – surface covered with farm soil
Ø Welcomed consultation on traffic calming in Sion Mills
Ø Seein Road/Victoria Road – traffic parked at shop resulted in difficulty with sight lines
Mr Young said that it was the responsibility of the property owner to clean any deposits of muck from the roads. He added that the primary enforcement agency was the PSNI but that Roads Service did advise owners of their responsibility to undertake these duties. Mr Doherty said that it was hoped that work on the traffic-calming scheme at Sion Mills would commence in the Autumn. He noted the concern raised regarding vehicles parked at the shop, resulting in poor sight lines.
Councillor McNulty welcomed the representatives. He raised the following issues:
Ø Welcomed the introduction of traffic calming measures at Springhill Park
Ø Welcomed the street lighting scheme at Drumrallagh
Ø Speeding traffic from Plumbridge Road on approach to Drumrallagh – improved signage needed
Ø Fountain Street/Innisfree Gardens – dust and dirt resulting from contractor who was quarrying in the area
Mr Young was aware that material had been deposited on road from the contractor accessing the site but understood that he had been making a reasonable effort to clean the road. He acknowledged the concerns from residents in the area. Mr Doherty said that Roads Service would do what they could in this regard but that it was an enforcement issue. He acknowledged the concerns about speeding traffic approaching built up areas, which had been highlighted by other Members at the meeting.
Councillor Hussey welcomed the representatives and echoed the remarks of other Members regarding the assistance given by Roads Service over the year, in particular the courtesy of the section office. He raised the following issues:
Ø Interreg Funding – queried if the source of the funding was all departmental funding or if it included additional funding. He noted that there had been a commitment from the Department when these applications went into Interreg that this funding would be additional and felt that some funding had been siphoned off
Ø Welcomed adoption of Dergvale
Ø Welcomed the work at Hazelgrove
Ø Derg Bridge – issue of narrowness for pedestrians
Ø Garvetagh Road – welcomed the diversion of surface water
Ø Hospital Road – petition for traffic calming measures
Ø Erganagh Primary School – issue of speeding traffic to be considered
Ø Youngs Crescent/Strabane Road – issue of surface water
Ø Castlederg disabled bays
Ø Concerns over length of time taken to complete work
Ø Complaint – contact to be made with 1 Castle Avenue re; cones being left in garden
Ø Drumquin Road – timescale of work
Ø Killeter Road realignment
Ø Cross border roads – disrepair of surfaces in Donegal
Ø Liskey Road/Grammar School – speeding traffic
Ø Garvetagh hamlet – speeding traffic
Ø Learmore Road/Munie Road (Playgroup) – poor sight lines
Mr Doherty said that all programmes were funded directly from Government funding and Roads Service had been successful in drawing down funding through the offices of ICBAN. He said that last year £235,000 had been spent on maintenance which included work undertaken over and above the funding available from the Department. He added that Roads Service had been able to draw down nearly £2 million of funding from Interreg which he confirmed was additional funding and he noted that Roads Service had to account for this to the Peace II auditors. He advised Members that the reduction of funding for the Strabane District Council area had not been as severe as other District Councils.
Mr Doherty acknowledged all the issues referred to by Councillor Hussey and referred to page 25 of the report regarding Killeter Road, which included a bridge-widening scheme. He said that consultation regarding disabled bays at the Diamond, Castlederg was ongoing. He said that it was hoped that the work at Drumquin Road would commence in September. He referred to page 19 of the report concerning work at Hospital Road, Castlederg which he said included a road hump for traffic-calming.
The Chairman raised the following issue:
Ø Camus Road – provision of footway and flooding issues
Mr Doherty noted the comments in this regard.
The Chairman asked Members to submit any completed sheets with additional items to the representatives. He thanked Mr Doherty and Mr Young for attending the meeting and for presenting their report. He thanked Roads Service for the hard work undertaken throughout the year and for the courteous manner in which Roads Service staff had undertaken their duties. Mr Doherty and Mr Young left the meeting at this point.
Employment Task Force
Councillor McNulty noted that a letter had been circulated to Members giving notice of a meeting of the Employment Task Force to take place on 18 July 2005 at 6.00 p.m. He believed that this would clash with another meeting and felt, in any event that it did not allow enough time prior to the Economic Development Committee meeting for a full discussion on such an important issue. He also felt that it was not acceptable to expect Members who worked to attend a meeting at that time. He said that there had been no consultation with Members on this and that he had liaised with the Chairman of the Task Force who confirmed that he had not scheduled the meeting.
Councillor Barr said that there had been some discussion of scheduling this meeting prior to the Economic Development Committee meeting if it was absolutely unavoidable. He agreed that it was unreasonable for Members to be asked to attend 3 or 4 meetings on the same day.
The Chairman said that these views would be relayed to the Chief Executive for re-consideration.
Councillor McNulty left the meeting at this point.
DETI – Geological Survey of Northern Ireland – Tellus Project
The Chairman welcomed Mr Garth Earls and Mr Conall McDevitt to the meeting. Following, technical difficulties in setting up their presentation, it was agreed that the presentation would be given verbally.
Mr Earls, Director of the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI) apologised to Members for the technical difficulties with their equipment. He thanked the Council for the opportunity to make the presentation.
He said that the geological project was a specific scientific programme in NI. He said that the project had been ongoing for 7 years and outlined the history from 1998. He noted that it was an all island survey. He said that GSNI obtained indications of approval for funding in 2003 and the project was funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment (DETI).
Mr Earls outlined the benefits of the project, noting that Tellus was a country-wide research programme that would benefit the whole community in protecting and developing our natural resources for the economy, environment and the local community. He said that the Tellus project showed the Government’s commitment to sustaining and maintaining our natural resources for current and future generations. He said that the hub of the project was to understand the underground and how to manage our resources.
He outlined the goals of the project in understanding and contributing to the sustainable development and management of our natural resources and measuring and assessing the environmental well being of NI using mapping techniques. He reported on the ongoing land based geochemical survey, which included samples of soil and water, which were chemically analysed. He further advised of the low-level airborne geophysical survey, which was launched the previous week, which was based on detection.
Mr Earls outlined NI’s natural resources, which included construction materials, industrial minerals, metals, hydrocarbons, waters and soils. He reported that the Tellus project would provide the basic information to support controlled development of the natural resources in NI and provide improved base maps and digital data to support the private sector.
He referred to the previous surveys when pottery resources and gold bearing rocks were found. He referred to the gold exploration in the Sperrins with $300 million having been discovered to date.
Mr Earls advised Members that environmentally, Tellus would be providing data to measure environmental change for the future in NI, which would include looking at contamination levels and complying with legislation affecting soils and waters. He noted that this could help identify potential threats to our health. He outlined the specifics of the Geochemistry survey, which would include images of soils being collected with western areas to be covered over the next 1 ½ years. He outlined the details of the Geophsysical survey in a twin otter aircraft, which would fly over NI in a series of parallel lines with instruments collecting data from the ground relating to the magnetic and electrical properties of the earth. He noted that the aircraft, which would be based at St. Angelo’s airport, Enniskillen would fly at different elevations in rural areas to that of town areas and was due to commence this month. Mr Earls advised Members that the project would involve an outreach programme to the community.
The Chairman thanked Mr Earls for the very informative presentation and he felt that the data gathered would be very important for the future. He invited questions and comments from Members.
Councillor McGill welcomed the representatives. She raised the following issues:
Ø Tellus Project – significance of the name
Ø Involvement of Planning Service
Ø Educational programme relating to the project
Mr Earls confirmed that the name ‘Tellus’ represented the Roman Goddess of the Earth, which they felt was an appropriate name for the project. He said that GSNI worked closely with the Planning Service, mainly on planning issues regarding minerals. He said that natural resources were finite and if a resource was found it was preferable not to have development on top of it. He advised Members that it was hoped to disseminate information packs to schools, targeting geography and science classes between O’ Level and A’ level years. He reported that they had already engaged 2 schools in a public debate on the pros and cons of the project, which was quite high profile during Science Week. He said that GSNI would be happy to arrange to attend any interested schools.
Councillor McBride welcomed the representatives. He raised the following issues:
Ø What distance into the earth’s crust were samples retrieved
Ø Identification of illegal landfill sites
Ø Identification of radon gas
Ø Welcomed the schools initiative
Mr Earls said that solid samples were collected from the earth’s crust at 20 and 30 centimetres. He noted that the maximum level for electro magnetic readings was 30 metres but that magnetic readings could be much higher. He said that there was the potential for the detection of illegal landfill sites but that it would not be easy and would be dependant on their orientation. He said that the project could map radon susceptible areas.
Councillor O’Kane raised the following issues:
Ø Pollution – potential to pin point the source
Ø Water Life – potential to pint point the direction
Mr Earls said that the survey was regional and was not engaged in specific targeting of operations. He said that GSNI collected one soil sample in every 2 kms but was not site specific. He advised Members that there was the potential to look at patterns in river catchment areas within their surveys.
Councillor Hussey thanked the representatives for the presentation. He raised the following issues:
Ø Impact on use of resources within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
Ø Impact of Nitrate Directive on farmers
Ø Archaeological mapping
Ø Access to data
Mr Earls said that GSNI would provide a level of information on natural resources within AONBs to enhance the decision making process but that the final decision lay with the Planning Service. Regarding the nitrates issue, he said that data from the surveys on nutrients would be available to anyone under licence and that it would give a level of ground based information on which to make informed decisions. He agreed that there were different soil types in the east and west of the province with higher rocks in the west, which would result in differences within the chemistry of the soils. He advised Members that any archaeological mapping would be very unlikely. He confirmed that any overlap of data with the North and South of Ireland would be provided to the Geological Service of Ireland.
The Chairman thanked the representatives for attending Council and Mr Earls and Mr McDevitt left the meeting at this point.
Any Other Business
Use of Council Chamber
On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Hussey approval was given for the use of the Council Chamber on 8 July 2005 to facilitate a presentation to visiting pupils from St. Anne’s Primary School on the ‘Role of Council’.
NILGA & RPA Review Team Presentations
The Chief Environmental Health Officer (CEHO) reported that, following Council’s decision to invite NILGA and the RPA Review Team to make presentations to Council, the Chief Executive had hoped to bring these groups to Council prior to the summer recess given that the response to the RPA document was due on 20 September 2005. He said that it was recommended that both groups attend the Economic Development Committee meeting on 18 July 2005 with the meeting to commence at 7.00 p.m.
Councillor Barr felt that, given the importance of the RPA, it was vital that a separate meeting of Council be held to discuss the issue. He said that Council would be inviting the groups to travel from Belfast only to be squeezed in at the end of a meeting. He noted the earlier discussion regarding the Employment Task Force, which had been suggested for the same evening. He believed that the request to hold all these meetings on the same day was unreasonable.
The CEHO said that the Chief Executive had indicated that refreshments would be available for Members at 5.00 p.m. and felt that the intention was to receive the presentations on the RPA and then for Council to have a subsequent meeting to discuss it in more depth.
Councillor Barr referred to the importance of discussions regarding employment at this critical time in Strabane. He further added that the RPA was the most important issue to affect Strabane District Council in recent times and Members and groups making presentations should be afforded the time to discuss the issues in full. He felt that having to deal with so many important matters at once would not give justice to the issues.
Councillor O’Kane queried the logic of trying to fit so many meetings into one evening. He felt that the guidance from the auditor would be that one meeting per day was quite sufficient.
Councillor McBride felt that levels of concentration would be decreased with so many issues to consider, particularly as many Members would be attending straight from work.
Councillor McGill asked that, as Chair of the Economic Development Committee to be consulted on any changes.
The Chairman said that the views of Members would be relayed to the Chief Executive and Business Manager for their re-consideration in the hope of making a further recommendation to the meeting the following evening.
Gas to the West Lobby – Use of Council Chamber
The CEHO requested approval for the use of the Council Chamber for the Gas to the West meeting on 18 July from 4.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Members expressed their extreme concern about a further proposed meeting on 18 July 2005 and it was agreed that this meeting would be reconsidered in line with the previous discussion.
The meeting concluded at 10.15 p.m.
DATED this 5th day of JULY 2005
Chief Environmental Health Officer
DATED this 13th day of SEPTEMBER 2005
Chairman of the Council
The following does not form part of the Minutes recorded above but is included hereon in the interests of clarity:
At a meeting of Strabane District Council held on the day of 13 September 2005 the Minutes of the above Meeting were adopted as a true record on the proposal of Councillor Breslin, seconded by Councillor Foley, subject to the following amendment:-
* Change to read: Accessibility of information and personnel was not uniform across the departments within Roads Service