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27th May 2009
Minutes of the Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee Meeting held on Wednesday 27 May 2009 at 7.30 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane.
Present: In the Chair: Councillor T McBride
Other Members: Councillors M Boyle, A Bresland, J Donnell, G Foley, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, C McGill, J McNulty, J O’Kane
In attendance: Clerk & Chief Executive, Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure, Administrative Officer
Apologies: Councillors J Emery, B McMahon, E McMenamin
Report by Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure
The Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure (HCAL) presented her report. Arising out of the report the following was discussed.
Killen Pitch Development
The HCAL advised that Council had been fortunate to secure an overall award from Sport NI of £175,500 towards eligible project costs. She added that the completion of work was scheduled for the end of May.
Strabane/Lifford Riverine Project
The HCAL advised that written confirmation had been received from Donegal County Council that there would be a full partnership process on the project. She noted that at this time, Council had been asked to supply secondary information.
In response to a query from Councillor McNulty, the HCAL said that the timeframe of the consultation process would be completed over the summer months, with a bid being presented in September/October.
Capital Development Programme – Council Legacy
The HCAL referred to the details of the capital projects, as distributed for Members’ attention. She said that the design, development work and delivery mechanisms for each project had been identified. She noted that the funding window in terms of large scale funding from Sport NI was quite short and Council may have to prioritise specific work. She added that the appointment of relevant professional services would be undertaken.
East Bank Walking/Cycle Path
The HCAL advised that the preliminary design feasibility study had been completed with the estimated cost of the development projected as £340,000. The report would be presented to the Neighbourhood Renewal Board for consideration under the physical renewal element of the programme. She noted however, that the view was that it was likely not to fall within the current Neighbourhood Renewal funding programme, therefore the development work would be delayed until funding opportunities arose.
In response to a query from Councillor McNulty, the HCAL said that the recommendations from the initial technical study included a non segregated cycle path, a buffer of an additional metre and a railing. She felt that the issue would be whether the Neighbourhood Renewal was likely to obtain funding to develop the project in its totality. She said that all options would be kept under review.
Councillor Hussey declared an interest and withdrew from the meeting.
Councillor Kerrigan joined the meeting at 7.35pm.
The HCAL advised that, as previously agreed, all external avenues were considered regarding financial assistance for the shortfall in funding. She said that Sport NI was not in a position to extend their offer.
In response to Councillor McNulty, the HCAL said that she understood that the scheme was to be complete in March. She added that another funding body would not get involved if the project had already commenced.
The Chief Executive (CE) noted that he sat on the validating committee which administered this funding and he understood that the club had received all the funding that was available from Sport NI. He added that, while expressing his conflict of interest, he had raised this issue again but to no avail. He noted that further funding would be opened up but the club would be unable to receive retrospective funding.
Western Regional Tourism Partnership (RTP)
The HCAL referred to the April Minutes of the Western RTP and IFI Sub-Group meetings which had been distributed for Members’ information. She added that within the final study of the Visitor Management System and Sustainable Transport Services, a number of transportation issues within the area had been highlighted.
North West Trail
The HCAL referred to the May Minutes of the Steering Committee meeting which had been distributed for Members’ information. She added that there would be further marketing activity undertaken with a commitment given by the other partners to financially support the programme. She noted that funding was available within the budget for this purpose.
On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, it was agreed to contribute £3,000 subject to the same commitment from the other partners.
Sperrins Tourism (ST)
The HCAL referred to the April Minutes of the Board Meeting and the May Minutes of the Management Meeting which had been distributed for Members’ information.
She advised that ST would host a seminar on 22 June at the Council offices at which representatives from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) would give a presentation on the activities of the organisation.
Councillor Boyle wished it to be noted that the day and time of the event would be unsuitable for a number of Members.
Councillor Kerrigan said that he was aware that it had been difficult to get a suitable date and time for the NITB representatives.
In response to Councillor Hussey, the HCAL said that the seminar would not only cover the Sperrins area but would give the wider picture.
The HCAL confirmed that copies of the seminar documentation and the NITB presentation would be made available to Members who were unable to attend and Officers could provide information on specific issues.
Councillor McGill joined the meeting at 7.45pm.
Loughs Agency (LA) Interreg IVa Project
Following a previous presentation from the LA and on the proposal of Councillor Donnell, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, it was agreed to sign the associated partnership agreement to increase visitor awareness of the initiative and assist where possible to deliver the angling development initiatives.
Councillor Hussey said that despite being in favour of the initiative, his only concern was that he felt that no consideration was being given to upstream of the Foyle tidal waters.
Sport NI ‘Places for Sport’ Funding
The HCAL advised that Sport NI’s capital development programme, ‘Places for Sport’ for the period 2009/2010 was currently open for bids. She noted that there would be a number of interested parties within the voluntary sector and information and advice could be provided from Officers. Council was also reviewing its potential for bids and she noted that works at Melvin’s athletics track would be resubmitted and would include equipment bids. She said that the upgrading of the surface of Camus/Artigarvan pitch would also be considered in terms of the criteria.
In response to Councillor McNulty, the HCAL said that all sports organisations had been written to and the sports governing bodies had been in touch with their respective clubs.
In response to Councillor Donnell relating to the Artigarvan pitch, the HCAL advised that, following a previous suggestion by Councillor Hussey, Officers had been in contact with the Western Education & Library Board (WELB) to obtain site plans for their future development of the Artigarvan Primary School. She noted that the pitch was in need of drainage and recarpeting and, assuming that appropriate funding criteria could be met, the emphasis would be on increasing opportunities for recreation.
Councillor Hussey congratulated Officers on taking forward a previous suggestion and he felt that there was value in investigating the potential in this regard. Regarding funding, he confirmed that the Irish Football Association (IFA) had been in contact with clubs. He said that the funding was aimed at statutory bodies such as Councils or Clubs who had their own facilities.
Melvin Sports Complex
Councillor O’Kane noted that he had attended a meeting of the Melvin Reference Group earlier that day and concern had been raised about the material used in the lighting columns, which it was felt was not as robust as required and the columns were currently subject to vandalism.
Councillor McNulty, who had also attended the meeting, reaffirmed the concerns about the recreational vandalism to the lights and the possibility of upgrading the material used.
Sport NI -Increasing Participation
The HCAL advised that Sport NI was undertaking a period of consultation outlining their future commitment to the development of intelligent participation initiatives to increase participation in sport and physical recreation. She added that workshops would be held in the week commencing 8 June 2009 and Members were asked to register their interest in attending.
In response to Councillor McGill, the HCAL advised that she understood the terminology ‘intelligent participation’ as emphasising that Sport NI was investing smartly to get the best outcomes.
Councillor Hussey noted that this aspect was based on revenue investment, including aspects such as training of coaches and developing programmes with clubs.
The HCAL said that the commitment of delivering opportunities within communities was on a life long basis.
The CE said that programmes dedicated specifically to the over 50s, regardless of gender, would be popular for funding opportunities.
Castlederg Sports Capacity Programme
The HCAL advised that Council had been successful in securing grant aid of £60,000 under the SEUPB programme for shared spaces and discussion was taking place on the development and delivery of the programme which had been supported by Dergview, Churchtown and Barrowfield Football Clubs and the Youth Forum.
Councillor Hussey declared an interest in Dergview FC.
Community Support Plan – Consultation Workshops
The HCAL referred to the series of consultation workshops on the plan for community and voluntary organisations, as outlined in the report, at a cost £1,500.
In response to Councillor McNulty, the HCAL said that a breakdown of attendees and feedback would be provided.
Play Strategy Consultations
The HCAL referred to the series of local consultation workshops, as outlined in the report, regarding the development of a framework for a new play strategy for the district. In addition, as part of the promotion for the launch of National Play Day on 5 August 2009, Investing for Health proposed to host an event on the inclusive play site in Donemana but the details had yet to be confirmed with the funders.
Protestant Participation Project – Peace III Strategic Intervention
The HCAL reported that the Council together with Omagh District and Derry City Councils had been invited by the YMCA to become co-partners in the delivery of a Protestant Participation Project across the districts. She added that, should it be successful in securing approval from the North West Peace III Cluster Partnership, there would be funding of £500,000 available for the programme over an 18 month period. She said that the purpose of the programme was to implement a community leadership/development programme for protestant communities and others in the cluster area and the proposed action plan had been distributed for Members’ attention.
The HCAL said that agreement in principle was sought to become a co-partner to oversee the delivery of this programme. She added that it was envisaged that Council would not be responsible for the management or delivery of the programme but would have more of an observer capacity, attending quarterly review meetings and ensuring that the programme was rolled out within the district.
Councillor McNulty declared an interest as a member of the NW Peace III Cluster.
In response to Councillor McNulty, the HCAL said that Council’s responsibility would be reflected in that these issues had been identified through Council strategies.
Councillor Hussey declared an interest as a member of the NW Peace III Cluster in addition to involvement in groups which could benefit from the programme.
Councillor Kerrigan declared an interest as a member of the NW Peace III Cluster.
In response to Councillor Bresland, the HCAL understood that the YMCA was based in L’Derry and Belfast. She added that the delivery partners would be protestant network organisations who would be the primary beneficiaries of the project.
On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Bresland, co-partnership support was agreed in principle with 3 abstentions noted.
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
On the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, the recommendation that the overall award for the 2009-2010 financial year of £118,598, of which £72,899 would be match funded from the Department of Social Development was approved.
Councillors O’Kane and Boyle declared an interest as members of CAB.
Community Participation on Flags Forum
The HCAL referred to previous presentations and reports on the establishment and work of the forum to date. She said that the final key stage of establishing the flags forum was to secure community participation from selected areas across the district. She noted that the Good Relations Attitudinal Survey had identified a number of locations in Strabane, Donemana, Artigarvan and Castlederg, as potential areas to engage with local communities in addressing a range of flags and emblems issues.
On the proposal of Councillor McGill, seconded by Councillor Boyle, it was agreed to proceed with the process of promoting community participation.
In response to Councillor McNulty, the HCAL said that Council had a Good Relations Strategy and Action Plan which set out the activities and policy with regards to Good Relations.
Councillor Hussey noted that Newtownstewart had not been identified as a potential area to engage and address these issues. The HCAL said that the main areas had been identified but given that Newtownstewart was a main arterial route, she felt that it would be considered in the overall scheme.
Autumn Arts Programme
On the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, the delivery of an autumn arts programme at a cost of £8,000 was agreed.
Fair Day 2009 - Peace III Small Grants Application
On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Boyle, it was agreed to accept the offer of a grant aid award of £28,132.00 from the North West Peace III Partnership towards the development of the Fair day programme.
Further details of the programme were outlined in the report and the HCAL noted that the funding would span 2 years, with specific requirements in terms of involvement. She said that this grant aid was welcome, given the reduction in the Fair Day budget, as part of the estimates/striking the rate process.
Foyle Civic Trust – Pig Sculpture
The HCAL reported that a certificate in recognition of the ‘Where Dreams Go’ pig sculpture was received at the Foyle Civic Trust awards ceremony at the Guildhall the previous evening.
In response to Councillor McGill, the HCAL said that the name of the sculpture was based on the history of the 18th century butter market and reflected the dream like stance of the pig looking upwards.
She added that the artist had been in contact regarding the cast of the sculpture and any potential future use by Council. She noted that estimates had been obtained of approximately £900 regarding the delivery costs of the cast from the foundry.
It was agreed to investigate storage costs of the cast at locations close to the foundry.
The HCAL advised that the DCAL Working Group had considered a proposal from the Youth Forum, regarding the removal of elements of graffiti within 3 areas of Castlederg at a cost of £1,300. She added that a process to secure the engagement of relevant statutory agencies and property owners would be undertaken. She noted that there would be an educational element to the scheme and she understood that some of the perpetrators would be involved in the process.
In response to Councillor Foley, the HCAL said that the graffiti referred to, was to some extent, minor vandalism on certain buildings in the area and did not refer to the removal of murals. She noted that a specific review of the area had not taken place as it was felt more appropriate that the details of the scheme came from within the community itself.
Good Relations Programmes
On the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, the following programmes were agreed:
Project: Border Arts
Description: Musical and dialogue workshops combining different traditions
Project: Western Forum Project
Description: Glasgow study visit re; sectarianism and racism best practice models
In response to Councillor McGill, the HCAL advised that attendance would combine Officers, Members and community representation, usually obtained by seeking nominations from the relevant networks.
Strategy Intervention Programme for Cultural Identify and Heritage
The HCAL advised that Council would undertake the delivery of a cultural identity and inclusive celebration programme for the North West cluster group, following the approval of a £200,000 overall grant over an 18 month period. The action plan for the programme had been distributed for Members’ attention and included work on festivals and a museum exhibition programme. She added that Omagh District Council and Derry City Council would also manage 2 further programmes across the cluster area, as outlined in the report. In terms of delivery timescale, an Officer would be appointed to undertake a range of consultation events and set up the programme. She added that the research and development aspect would begin over the summer months.
The HCAL referred to the March Minutes of the Strabane Community Safety Partnership which had been distributed for Members’ attention.
On the proposal of Councillor Bresland, seconded by Councillor McGill, the report from the HCAL was adopted.
Playing Pitch Strategy
In response to Councillor Foley, the HCAL said that the consultants would formally present the strategy to Council at the June Committee meeting. She noted that there had been a number of issues to address including, planning service, team figures supplied by some of the clubs and dual use of facilities but it was now anticipated that the report would be ready for formal presentation at that time.
The CE noted that the timing of the strategy was notable as Sport NI had recently highlighted this type of development strategy as a method of best practice in Local Government.
Communication Workers Union (CWU)–‘Keep the Royal Mail Public’ Campaign
A letter from the CWU asking for support for their campaign had been distributed for Members’ attention.
Councillor McNulty declared an interest as his wife was a Post Office employee.
The Chairman noted that the correspondence also highlighted the issue of rural postal services.
On the proposal of Councillor Bresland, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, it was agreed to send a letter of support for the campaign.
On the proposal of Councillor Foley seconded by Councillor Bresland the meeting went “into committee.”
On the proposal of Councillor McNulty, seconded by Councillor Foley, the meeting went “out of committee”.
Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership
The HCAL advised that there would be opportunities to prepare funding bids through the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership for the development of multi sports programmes for Melvin and Riversdale. She also noted that arts projects developed by the Alley Theatre would also be considered.
Councillors McNulty and O’Kane declared interests as members of the Melvin Reference Group.
The HCAL noted that under Shared Spaces, there was scope to develop further proposals for the castle site in Castlederg, Donemana Inclusive Play Project, a cultural identity/museum programme and school arts projects.
Councillor Hussey referred to a recent meeting held with local residents regarding concerns at the castle site. The HCAL said that she understood that DSD had land for disposal there but would need to make enquires on the mater.
The HCAL referred to the potential for bids for the following: the athletics track at Melvin, leisure equipment and pitches at Camus and Artigarvan.
It was agreed to proceed with bids as appropriate.
Clann na Gael – funding letter of support
On the proposal of Councillor McGill, seconded by Councillor Hussey, it was agreed to provide a letter of support to the group for a funding bid to Sport NI for a MUGA facility.
Safety of Sports Ground NI Order
The CE referred to the tabled letter from the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure regarding new subordinate legislation on the above issue.
In response to Councillor Hussey, the HCAL said that she would check the total ground capacity requirements.
Housing Council Annual Conference, 10 June 2009, Armagh City Hotel, at a one off payment of £200 for unlimited number of attendees. Members agreed to provide the names of those wishing to attend to the Administration department.
Lease of Land
On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, it was agreed that the CE and Chairman of Council sign the lease of lands for Cutt Park, Clady for use by Urney GAC.
The meeting concluded at 8.35pm.