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9th November 2010
Minutes of the Meeting of Strabane District Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane on Tuesday 9 November 2010 at 7.30p.m.
Present: - In the Chair: Councillor M Boyle
Other Members: Councillors A Bresland, J Donnell, J Emery, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, R McHugh, B McMahon, E McMenamin, J McNulty, J O’Kane.
Total = 12
Clerk & Chief Executive
Apologies: Councillors D Breslin, C McGill, K McGuire.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Special Council held on Tuesday 5 October 2010 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor McNulty seconded by Councillor McMahon and signed by the Chairperson.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Page 3: Order of Malta Ambulance Corps
Councillor McNulty noted that he had advised the group to contact the Culture, Arts & Leisure Department for guidance on providing services at local events.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on Tuesday 12 October 2010 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane seconded by Councillor Donnell and signed by the Chairperson.
Councillor McHugh attended the meeting at 7.35pm.
The Minutes of the Economic Development Committee Meeting held on Monday 18 October 2010 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane seconded by Councillor McMenamin.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Pages 6-7: Strabane Chamber of Commerce
In response to a query from Councillor McNulty, the Chief Executive (CE) said that the Economic Development Manager (EDM) would clarify at the forthcoming Committee meeting, specific details of the Chamber’s contribution to the Marketing Strategy, whether this would be financially or in kind.
Pages 8-10: Pilot Schools/Business Project Inside Trak
Councillor McNulty requested that all Members be given the opportunity to attend the working group meetings.
Councillor Hussey attended the meeting at 7.40pm.
The Minutes of the Corporate and Regulatory Services Committee held on Tuesday 19 October 2010 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane seconded by Councillor McMahon.
The Minutes of the Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee Meeting held on Monday 25 October 2010 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane seconded by Councillor McMahon.
Matters Arising from Minutes
Page 7: Foyle Wetlands
Councillor McNulty requested that all Members to be kept informed of any developments in addition to the 3 nominated Members.
Page 9: Strabane & District Community Network
Councillor McNulty noted that a new community network had been established in Strabane town and he understood that representatives would be in contact with Council in due course.
The Minutes of the Environment Committee Meeting held on Tuesday 26 October 2010 were adopted as a true record of the meeting on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane seconded by Councillor Emery.
On the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, the Minutes of the Transition Committee of 15 September 2010 including the recommendations were endorsed by Members.
Burial Rights Grants
On the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Hussey, forms of grant in respect of the following were signed and sealed on behalf of Council: -
Robert K Wilson
403 Victoria Road
Ballymagorry - 2 plots
Charles W Graham
9 Letterbin Road
Newtownstewart - 2 plots
54 Killeter Road
Castlederg - 2 plots
33 Liscurry Gardens
Artigarvan - 1 plot
13 McGirr Park
Strabane - 1 plot
17 Abercorn Cottages
Strabane - 1 plot
9 Meadow Park
Sion Mills - 1 plot
Policy on Council Receptions - Review
A report and the current policy had been distributed in advance for Members’ attention.
The Business Manager (BM) referred to the current policy which had been last reviewed in July 2009 and covered both Chairperson’s receptions and civic receptions. She made specific reference to the section relating to current criterion for the recognition of emergency service personnel, which allowed for recognition of those who had attained 20 years service. She added that it had been suggested by some Members that this should be changed so that recognition would be agreed for those who had retired, having served at least 20 years.
Councillor McMenamin attended the meeting at 7.45pm.
A discussion ensued and Members’ views included the following issues:
• Agreed that recognition should be based on retirement from a service.
• Clarification required on whether recognition would be based on years of service or years of service within the district area.
• Many could have met the requirement in terms of years of service, with the majority of same, undertaken in other district areas.
• Clarity needed in terms of residency requirements.
• Anomaly of not recognising a resident from the district who was paying rates, but who served in another area.
• Because of the nature of their jobs, some may not have been able to undertake the service within the district.
• Concerned about a significant increase in such receptions, perhaps for personnel who had not served for a significant time in the district.
• Downgrading the significance of having a meaningful reception.
• 20 years service would not currently be regarded as long service and therefore consideration should be given to increasing this criterion.
• Personnel should be recognised by the area in which they served, regardless of where they lived.
Following further discussion and on the proposal of Councillor Boyle, seconded by Councillor McMahon, it was agreed with 11 votes for and 1 abstention that the policy be changed to incorporate the recognition of emergency service personnel on their retirement, having served 25 years within the Strabane district area.
APSE Performance Networks Seminar, Blackpool, 2 & 3 December 2010 at an estimated cost of £624.70. Costings and conference programme had been distributed in advance for Members’ attention.
Councillor McNulty referred to the significant costs involved, the venue of the conference and queried the benefit to the Council area. He did not feel that it was relevant to Members.
The CE felt that the programme was very much linked to technical and operational issues of budget control and performance management.
Councillor McBride felt that the decision could be left to the discretion of the CE, if it would benefit a relevant Officer.
Councillor Hussey queried if this was changing Council policy where Members of bodies such as APSE, Nilga or NAC were given the opportunity to attend conferences as Council representatives on these bodies.
Following further discussion and an indication that no Member wished to attend, it was agreed to mark the details as read.
Roads Service – No Waiting at Any Time
Correspondence and map relating to proposed restrictions at Park Road, Strabane had been distributed in advance for Members’ attention.
Councillor O’Kane welcomed the decision and noted difficulties associated with vehicles being parked near and at the corner of Park/Railway Road, particularly delivery lorries trying to access businesses on Park Road.
The Chairperson agreed and noted that residents often had difficulties accessing and existing their own homes.
Councillor Donnell agreed that there was often congestion at the entrance of Park Road and wondered if the restrictions had been extended too far, which may have an impact on current planning applications in that area.
Following discussion, it was agreed that Council as a corporate body, would support the introduction of the No Waiting at Any Time restrictions.
Health & Social Care Board – GP Out of Hours Service
The CE referred to correspondence and the first redeye monitoring report received from the HSCB. He advised that a subsequent monitoring report had been received and both were now distributed for Members’ information.
Councillor McNulty noted that he unfortunately had to attend the GP out of hours service recently and was informed that he would have to transport the patient to hospital, given that it was felt that stitches were required for the injury. He referred to the difficulties other residents would experience if transport was not available to them.
The Chairperson in the absence of Councillor McGill, advised that she had met with the HSCB and put a number of questions to them, which she continued to pursue. She added that one query raised was whether decisions had been equality impact assessed in terms of deprivation statistics of the district and geographic locations in terms of distances from the health centre to access the out of hours service.
At the request of Councillor McNulty, it was agreed to establish the procedures for patients requiring minor stitches and whether the health centre was able to undertake same.
Health & Social Care Board – Relocation of GP Out of Hours Car
Correspondence from the HSCB regarding the above had been distributed in advance for Members’ attention.
Discussion ensued and Members’ queries included the following issues:
• Reference to a case where cars were unavailable from Omagh or Derry and the patient had to wait for a car from Enniskillen.
• Cutbacks in the area; Health Minister was clear on budget restraints.
• Council was being informed that at times, an emergency service not was provided but that urgent medical conditions were dealt with: what is an urgent medical condition if it was not an emergency?
• Lack of access to transportation for many residents.
• The issues of the majority of the district being rural and the deprivation statistics were significant matters.
• Use of taxis to transport patients was not practical.
• Council had fought to maintain a service, following the closure of the Strabane and Castlederg hospitals.
• All residents of Northern Ireland were entitled to the same service provision.
• Council needed to take a stand against an unacceptable service.
On the proposal of Councillor Boyle, seconded by Councillor McNulty, it was agreed to request the HSCB to attend Council to discuss their response.
BT – Public Payphone Removal
A consultative letter from BT had been distributed in advance for Members’ attention relating to the proposed removal of a public payphone in Newtownstewart which had been vandalised.
It was agreed that while noting the proposal, Council would be concerned that BT maintained some service in terms of access to public payphones, within the local vicinity of Newtownstewart.
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
Correspondence received from the Chairs of the Strabane and Londonderry CAB offices had been distributed in advance for Members’ attention. They were requesting a meeting with Members regarding a proposed merger of offices.
Councillor McNulty raised concerns about the proposal to merge offices, given that Council provided adequate funding for this service within the district area, including the rural communities.
Councillors O’Kane and McMenamin declared interests as CAB members.
Councillor McMenamin noted that, at the last meeting of CAB, he had suggested that they write to Council on this matter.
The CE advised that the Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure had been working with CAB in this regard and it was agreed to await her report, with a meeting to be agreed at an appropriate time.
Councillor McMahon left the meeting at 8.20pm.
Loughs Agency - Pedestrian Bridge at Aghalunney Road, Castlederg
Correspondence from the Loughs Agency had been distributed in advance for Members’ attention, regarding the above.
Councillor Emery noted that he had initially raised this issue in relation to the link up of the Donegal Trail. He said that it was unclear who owned and was ultimately responsible for the bridge. It would appear however, that the former Rural District Council had replaced it as a result of the initial bridge being washed away. He noted that Council had previously undertaken some repair to a similar bridge in Donemana.
The BM said that she was aware that the Chief Technical Services Officer (CTSO) was to consider the matter and the Countryside Access Officer (CAO) was to investigate availability of appropriate funding.
On the proposal of Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, it was agreed that a site meeting be arranged between Councillors, the CTSO and the CAO.
In response to a query from Councillor McNulty, Councillor Emery confirmed that the pedestrian bridge was very much in use.
Councillor Donnell noted for information purposes, that there was a similar situation regarding a bridge over the Moorlough River in Ballymagorry.
Any Other Business
Tenders: Outdoor Gym/Exercise Trail at Melvin Sports Complex
On the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, approval was given to open the above tenders.
The CE reminded Members that a site meeting would be held with Roads Service representatives on 11 November 2010 at 2.30pm at Duncastle Road, Donemana regarding the provision of a footpath.
Councillor Emery thanked staff for making arrangements to change the initial date, which had been scheduled.
WELB – Councillor Appointment
The Chairperson referred to the e-mail correspondence from the Department of Education which had been distributed in advance for information. She noted that Councillor Hussey had been appointed to Council’s one position on the Board.
Councillor McBride congratulated Councillor Hussey on the appointment.
Councillor Hussey said that once the required pre-appointment checks were completed and his appointment approved, he would be in a position to keep Members informed of any developments. He noted that he had previously raised concern regarding Council’s lack of representation on the Board in the interim period, while awaiting the decision on an appointment.
Letter of Condolence
On the proposal of Councillor Bresland, seconded by Councillor Donnell, it was agreed to send a letter of condolence to Canon David Ferry, Donemana on the recent death of his mother.
On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin seconded by Councillor McBride the meeting went “into committee”.
The meeting concluded at 9.15p.m.
DATED this 9th day of NOVEMBER 2010
Clerk & Chief Executive
DATED this 7th day of DECEMBER 2010
Chairperson of the Council