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14th October 1997
Minutes of the Meeting of the Environmental Committee held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Derry Road, Strabane on Tuesday 14 October 1997 at 7.00 p.m.
Present:- In the Chair:- Councillor J O'Kane Other Members:- Councillors Mrs A Bell, I Barr, D A Bresland, J Donnell, J Emery, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, C McHugh, E McMenamin, J McNulty, E Mullen, E Turner MBE Total = 14
Apology:- Councillor I Murtagh
In Attendance:- Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Technical Officer,
The Chairman of the Committee, Councillor O'Kane, pointed out that the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on 8 September 1997 had been adopted by Council, however, were not included on the agenda for tonight's meeting. It was agreed that the minutes of 8 September together with the minutes for tonight's meeting be placed on the agenda for the November meeting.
In response to a query by Councillor Donnell, the Chairman explained that the meeting would not be held "In Committee" as previously agreed by Council.
CHIEF OFFICER'S REPORT
Mr Scott, Chief Technical Officer, presented his report, copy of which was previously circulated.
Landfill Tax Credits
The National Trust - Mr Scott explained that this issue had now been resolved. The National Trust was currently in the process of getting a registration number. A fax had been received giving a detailed breakdown of the deficit of £15,000, which had been highlighted during the presentation to the Committee at a previous meeting.
It was agreed, on the proposal of the Chairman of the Council, that landfill tax credits in the sum of £15,000 be allocated to the National Trust in view of the fact that the Council had embarked on a central town museum and Art Gallery. This was seconded by Councillor Barr.
Woodland Trust - Mr Scott explained that since the presentations he had received correspondence from the Woodland Trust requesting Council to consider allocating the sum of £8,719.00 towards the shortfall in relation to the proposed creation of a millennium wood on land at Drumrallagh, Strabane.
It was agreed, on the proposal of the Chairman of the Council, seconded by Councillor Barr, that the balance of credits accrued from October 1996 to May 1997 would be allocated to the Woodland Trust,
Councillor Barr expressed concern at the apparent deteriorating condition of Strabane Glen and also illegal dumping which was taking place. In response to queries by Councillor Barr, the Chairman of the Council advised that he had been nominated to represent Council regarding Strabane Glen. The Chairman explained that the Ulster Trust for Nature Conservation had a ten year lease on the land which had now expired. Two meetings were held with the landowner, however, the ideas put forward were contrary to the views of the landowner. He also advised that the Ulster Trust for Nature Conservation had changed to the Ulster Wildlife Trust.
Councillor Barr advised that it was his understanding that the landowner was keen to have the land developed.
Landfill Tax Credits - Cookstown District Council
In response to queries by Members, Mr Scott explained that Cookstown District Council was the site operator and was not prepared to apportion Strabane with its share of credits for the current year's arrangement. This stipulation, however, would be included in discussions with Cookstown District Council when re-negotiating the disposal fee for the incoming year. Councillor Barr stated that in light of this information he would be hesitant in supporting any joint proposal with Cookstown for an environmental awareness officer. The Chairman of the Council remarked that he had understood that projects had to be sited within a ten mile radius of the respective local authority in order to comply with the guidelines laid down and perhaps this was part of the problem. In response Mr Scott advised that he had checked this matter out with the regulatory bodies who had confirmed that this requirement was not "written in stone". Mr Scott also pointed out that Omagh District Council disposed of its waste at the Aughnacloy site, however, was receiving the landfill tax credits directly. Councillor McBride referred to the difficulties experienced at Urney Road and suggested that Council discuss use of Omagh's transfer station etc. In relation to point (ci), Mr Scott explained that his report should read "a deficit of £15,000" and not "£15,000 per annum". This was noted.
Conversion of Skip Reception Area to Transfer Station, Carricklee
Mr Scott advised that a meeting had been held with Senior DOE planning officials who informed that extensive consultations were taking place with the various bodies and they also sought clarification on Council's current disposal arrangements and what Council's long-term objectives were. Councillor McHugh enquired whether it had been pointed out that this was a temporary transfer station and Mr Scott confirmed that this had been discussed.
Waste Management Strategy for the North West
It was agreed on the proposal of the Chairman of the Council, seconded by Councillor McBride, that any Councillor wishing to attend the information awareness seminar to be held on 3 November at the Guildhall should do so.
Replacement Skip Reception/Recycling Facility - Castlederg
Mr Scott informed Members that a lot of opposition had been expressed to the proposed facility. He also understood that Council would be receiving a deputation at the full Council meeting.
Discussion ensued during which Councillor McHugh enquired why the Council was not shown the plans of the proposed facility. He asked Mr Scott if he recalled any discussion or debate or proposal being made to the community group regarding this matter. He remarked that the District Partnership had been approached regarding a proposed play area at the former dump site in Spamount. Councillor Kerrigan pointed out that many attempts had been made by Council to identify alternative sites in the area but he understood two possible sites had been identified. He suggested that the Derg Councillors should attempt to identify another site given that the suggested site was subject to strong objection. Mr Scott advised that his Department had in the past prepared plans for skip areas. He suggested that if Members wished to have such plans on display at future meetings then this could be arranged.
Councillor McHugh was of the opinion that given the controversial nature of this matter, which had been highlighted by the extensive debate on Carricklee to date, that it should have been brought before Council and possible objections highlighted. He contended that the Spamount and District Cross Community Association was an extremely active group in this area and had stated that it had never been contacted by Council regarding the proposals. In response, Mr Scott stated that he had held discussions with the representative of the community group concerned in relation to the proposed skip reception/recycling facility and also the proposed play area. Councillor McHugh asked that these comments be recorded and that he was satisfied that discussion had taken place by Council with the community group concerned in relation to the proposed skip reception site in Spamount and, therefore, a representative of the community group knew of the proposals.
The Chairman of the Committee requested that a copy of the plans of the proposed skip reception/recycling facility at Spamount be put on display for the next Environmental Committee meeting. This was agreed.
Councillor Hussey remarked that in his opinion he felt certain that Derg Councillors were aware of the proposed facility. In view of this and in view of Councillor Kerrigan's suggestion in relation to the two alternative sites, that rather than waiting until the next meeting to examine plans that the two alternative sites be investigated as soon as possible.
It was unanimously agreed on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Hussey, that attempts be made to identify alternative sites and that the Derg Councillors assist with site meetings as necessary. Councillor McHugh voiced his full support for this course of action.
Institute of Waste Management (NI Centre)
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor O'Kane, seconded by Councillor Mullen, that the Chief Technical Officer attend this conference to be held at the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, Co Down, on 5 and 6 November 1997. It was further agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor Mullen, that Councillor O'Kane also attend.
Former Landfill Site, Spamount
Mr Scott advised Members that he had received a letter from Roads Service requesting Council to provide land for the purposes of piping a drain along Drumnabey Road, Spamount. He explained that this would enhance the boundary.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, that the Council provide the required portion of land for piping of this drain subject to details of the amount of land required.
The Report was adopted on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, subject to the foregoing.
The meeting closed at 7.45 pm.