Looking for information about a council service?
22nd May 2006
Minutes of the Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee Meeting held on Monday 22 May 2006 at 7.30 pm in the Council Chamber, Strabane District Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane.
Present: In the Chair: Councillor A Bresland
Other Members: Councillors: I Barr, D Breslin, J Donnell, J Emery, G Foley, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, C McGill, K McGuire, B McMahon, E McMenamin, J O’Kane
Total = 13
In Attendance: Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure, Administrative Assistant
Apologies: Councillors: T McBride, J McNulty
The Chairman welcomed Members to the meeting.
Report by Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure
The Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure (HCAL) attended the meeting and presented her report for May 2006. Arising out of the report the following was discussed.
Arts and Cultural Exhibition Centre
The HCAL advised Members that the arts centre construction contract was proceeding according to schedule. She referred to the minutes of the project team, which had been circulated for Members’ information.
She stated that the Department for Social Development (DSD) had approved the contract extension with Glenn Howells Architects in respect of the Courtyard Environmental Scheme. She requested Council approval to award the contract extension on an 8.8% fee basis.
On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McMenamin this was agreed.
The HCAL noted a number of ongoing management developments, which would be considered as part of the review of Culture, Arts and Leisure. She added that a full report would be presented to the Audit and Staff Committee for consideration.
In response to a query from Councillor Breslin, regarding the official opening of the facility, the HCAL stated that the base line for programming was currently being collaborated for an initial 3-6 month period. She envisaged that the officer responsible for managing the programmes would be recruited before the launch of the new facility.
In response to Councillor McMenamin, the HCAL stated that the construction work would have to be completed before an official launch date was arranged. She was hopeful that this would be decided in late summer, with a provisional date of March 2007.
Melvin Athletics Track
The HCAL advised Members that the track resurfacing and terracing was in the final stages of completion. She added that the synthetic surfacing for the long jump would be completed during June 2006.
Historic Landscape Characterisation
The HCAL informed Members of a Cross Border Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) study of L’derry and Carlingford areas which was being undertaken. She stated that the Heritage Council of Ireland and the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) had initiated the project which was aimed to raise public awareness and appreciation of the significance of cultural and historic landscapes in these areas. She advised Members how the initiative would be managed and the areas which would be covered therein.
The HCAL added that the study would also form the basis for a joint landscape education programme between University College, Dublin, the Ulster University, Letterkenny and Dundalk Institutes of Technology.
She noted that a consultation process was currently underway with key stakeholders in the North West, which incorporated the Strabane District.
The HCAL requested Members approval for engaging in consultation on a scoping exercise, which was scheduled for 16 June 2006.
In response to Councillor Breslin, the HCAL stated that financial provision was not required from Council at this stage.
Western Regional Tourism Partnership (WRTP)
The HCAL referred to the position paper, which had been prepared in response to the recommendations on the framework for tourism delivery as outlined by the consultants undertaking the study. A copy of the report detailing discussions of the joint officer forum of the Western Councils was previously circulated to Members.
She noted that Council was requested to endorse the proposal for a North West of Ireland Tourism structure, based on the strategic potential of collaborative working between Tyrone, L’derry, Fermanagh, Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo.
Councillor McGill sought further clarification on the issue and in response the HCAL stated that the key objective was to address issues discussed at the joint officer forum. She said that Council had been asked to participate in a number of structures and that Destination North West (DNW) and the Tyrone Tourism structure would also be considered as delivery mechanisms for tourism objectives.
She noted the financial importance of this initiative. She said that approval was required in relation to the position paper, so that the Northern Ireland Tourist Board could be advised of the Council position.
Councillor McMenamin referred to a previous presentation and felt that this initiative was the way forward. He stated that there were already practical benefits of the scheme.
Councillor McGill queried if the number of organisations which contributed to tourism would be reduced due to this initiative. The HCAL stated that the North West Passage (NWP) had agreed that they would not be operating in the long term but had requested that their key objective – the North West Corridor would be retained, adopted and supported by DNW.
In relation to Sperrins Tourism, the HCAL said that they had become the central point for the local industry and that they needed to establish their future strategy within the changing environment. She said that Council would continue to support the group until such time, as they were required to continue to offer certain services.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor McMahon it was agreed that Council would endorse the proposal for a North West of Ireland Tourism structure, based on collaborative working with specified areas.
The HCAL informed Members that the joint Council working group had met to consider the possible framework and terms of reference for a collaborative tourism structure, focused on the development of tourism within Tyrone. She said that in order to develop detailed proposals it was agreed by the working group that each of the Councils be invited to formally nominate four Councillors to the Tyrone Tourism group and requested nominees from Strabane District Council (SDC).
Councillor Hussey joined the meeting at this point. (7.45 pm)
Councillor O’Kane queried Tyrone Tourism’s status. The HCAL said there needed to be collaboration around joint marketing and joint standards of service for amenities and the Tyrone Tourism structure would address this.
Councillor McMenamin suggested that if there were 4 representatives on Sperrins Tourism then they should also be nominated to the Tyrone Tourism group.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Donnell this was agreed.
Councillor Kerrigan advised Members that at a meeting on 24 May 2006, the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (DARD) would be announcing possible funding for Sperrins Tourism. He noted that Sperrins Tourism was well advanced with their activities and also congratulated officers on the successful signage initiative.
Sperrins Tourism Limited
The HCAL informed Members that Sperrins Tourism Limited had requested that Council contribute £16,500 towards the organisation’s tourism programme. She said it was proposed that the funding be awarded on a quarterly basis subject to the Company providing a cash flow projection and activity plan for each period.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Emery, this was agreed.
Glenelly Historical Society
The HCAL sought Council approval for the use of the Sperrin Heritage Centre by the society to host events and receive loan exhibits of historical artefacts from appropriate agencies.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor McGill this was agreed.
On the proposal of Councillor McMahon, seconded by Councillor McMenamin the following funding programmes were agreed.
Community Sport Programme - activities delivered through Melvin Community Sports Programme. The Sports Council of Northern Ireland through the lottery programme would provide funding of £5,000 towards the programme costs.
Coach Education Programme – focusing on the long term athlete development model. COST: £3,000
Melvin Perpetual Trophy – regional Open Soccer Tournament. COST: £2,000
Grant Aid Programme
The HCAL stated that the review of grant aid awarded to support community development activity had been completed. She added that a consultation programme with groups had been co-ordinated to ensure the needs of the sector were being met. A copy of the review report had been previously circulated for Members’ information.
On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, approval was granted to implement the grant aid scheme.
In response to a query from Councillor Barr regarding Community Development groups who previously were ineligible for funding, the HCAL said that if there were clear linkages then Council would seek to address this.
Councillor McGill welcomed the development if it assisted genuine groups to secure funding.
The HCAL noted that a substantial amount of work had been undertaken in relation to scoring measures and a departmental evaluation form.
Capacity Building Project
The HCAL advised Members that the Community Support plan identified the need to provide capacity building initiatives to support the community development sector. She stated that a capacity building programme had been developed and it was proposed initially that two groups should receive development support. She added that following a call for expressions of interest, Evish Community Association and Ballymagorry Community Association would be provided with specialist development support to produce a development strategy and balanced scorecard. She noted that further groups would be offered the opportunity subject to evaluation of the scheme.
The HCAL requested Council approval for the costs of £3,600.
In response to Councillor McGill, the HCAL stated that she would circulate a copy of the corporate balanced scorecard to Members for their information.
Councillor Hussey apologised for his late attendance. In response to a number of questions the HCAL stated that approximately 10 groups had responded to the call for expressions of interests and said that it was first come first served. She noted that following the deadline for the call there had been several more interested groups and added that the department would work with other groups if this initiative were to continue.
Councillor Hussey said it had been accepted within European funding bodies that those groups within the Unionist Community had a greater need than those in the Nationalist Community for capacity building. He also noted his acceptance for the 2 groups selected for the above initiative.
Child Protection Training
The HCAL advised Members that a comprehensive programme of child protection training had been developed for the community and voluntary sector. She noted that the Council child protection policy required such groups to have a policy and a designated child protection officer in place.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, it was agreed that Council would host a child protection officer training programme at a cost of £1,200.
Community Hubs Programme
The HCAL informed Members that the Council had recently agreed to support the extension of the community hubs programme, subject to further support being available from the DSD. She noted that the proposal detailed an overall funding package of £85,000 and stated that Council agreed a financial commitment of £10,000 towards the overall costs. The HCAL noted that the Local Strategy Partnership (LSP) had confirmed that DSD would support the project, but at a reduced scale, £42,878.52. She said the offer however was conditional on Council match funding becoming available. She added that a revised activity programme and project outputs had been presented by the LSP and outlined these.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor O’Kane it was agreed that Council would support the revised activity programme.
In response to Councillor Hussey, the HCAL stated that there was no increase to Council match funding for the programme.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Emery the following funding was agreed.
Summer Scheme – Four-week district wide summer scheme programme. £12,000
Group Twinning Project – joint soccer coaching and tournament between Sion Mills Swifts and Killen Soccer Clubs. £1,000
Councillor Hussey declared an interest in Killen* Soccer Club.
Councillor Breslin declared an interest in Sion Swifts.
Strabane Community Safety Partnership
The HCAL referred to the above and noted that the minutes of the Community Safety Partnership, which had been previously circulated for Members’ information.
Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland
On the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, it was agreed to issue a letter of support to Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland for their request for funding from DSD towards revenue costs.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan the report from the HCAL was adopted.
Glenelly Development Trust
The HCAL advised Members that the above item had been deferred from the previous meeting, as the status of the group was required before funding could be granted. She stated that a number of documents had been submitted regarding meetings on the holiday accommodation complex and added that their AGM was scheduled for June 2006. She made reference to continued input from Council towards the group.
She requested approval for the following funding to be made available to the group: -
· Mini bus - £500
· Festival grant 2005/2006 - £575
Deferred grant recommendation for: -
· Festival grant 2006/2007 - £1,000
On the proposal of Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor McGill, approval was granted to release the above funding.
ILAM Conference, 27-29 June 2006, Bournemouth International Centre at an estimated cost of £949.03. Details of the conference including the costing had been circulated for Members’ attention.
Councillor Hussey suggested that the Chairman of the Committee attend. The Chairman stated that he had attended on previous years but on this occasion was unable to do so.
Following further discussion and on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor McMenamin it was agreed that an officer and a Councillor attend.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Emery the meeting went into committee.
On the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, the meeting went out of committee.
Any other Business
Special Council Meeting
The HCAL advised Members of a Special Meeting of Council scheduled for 30 May 2006 to receive two presentations: (i) Roads Service on the Sub Regional Transport Strategy and (ii) Western Education & Library Board (WELB) on their Corporate Plan. She added that subsequently the WELB was unable to send a representative to Council before the deadline of the consultation.
Councillor Barr referred to Council’s letter to the Secretary of State, Peter Hain, regarding the situation at Holy Cross College. He requested that background information be made available at the above Special Meeting.
Councillor O’Kane advised Members that he was a member of the Board of Governors at the College and noted that from the outset Peter Hain was to sign an agreement, which he had up to this point blatantly refused to do.
Councillor Hussey advised Members that, as he and Councillor McGill were representatives on the WELB, they could raise the issue at the next relevant meeting if information relating to this capital project was made available to them.
Councillor Barr noted the difficulties surrounding the cleaning contract for the College and said that as a Council it was supportive of employees in the area and wanted this issue resolved as soon as possible.
Councillor O’Kane said that he would make contact with the Principal of the College and arrange for the relevant information to be made available to Councillor Hussey.
Councillor Barr felt that Council should consider scheduling another delegation to attend the Special meeting such as a representative from the College.
Strabane Farmers Market
The HCAL advised Members that they had been invited to attend the first anniversary of the above on 27 May 2006 from 10am – 2pm.
Councillor Hussey felt that any Councillor wishing to attend could do so.
Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID)
Councillor Hussey advised Members that on 20 May 2006 he had been involved in an event for the RNID in Omagh. He requested that provision for the deaf in the new arts facilities should be further explored and asked that Council make contact with the RNID and receive information on what systems were available for the new arts centre.
The HCAL said that if there were further specific information available from the RNID than what had already been received, this would be taken into account for the new arts centre.
Councillor Hussey felt that Council should investigate the issue of deaf awareness training for each Member of Council.
Councillor McMenamin referred to the importance of meeting the needs of the disabled. The HCAL advised Members that ADAPT had advised Council on the relevant equipment required for the new arts centre. She added that she would also make contact with RNID to determine if there were other avenues to explore.
The meeting closed at 8.20 pm.
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 June 2006 the Minutes of the above Meeting were adopted as a true record on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor McMahon, subject to the following amendment: -
* Insert: “Juniors”