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8th January 2002
Minutes of Meeting of the Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Derry Road, Strabane on Tuesday, 8th January, 2002 at 7.30 p.m.
Present – In the Chair:- Councillor I. Barr Other Members:- Councillors A. Bell, A. Bresland, D. Breslin, J. Donnell, J. Emery, D. Hussey, T. Kerrigan, T.McBride, E. McGarvey, C. McGill, C. McHugh, B. McMahon, E. McMenamin, B. McNamee, J.McNulty Total = 16 In Attendance:- Clerk & Chief Executive, Chief Technical Officer, Administrative Officer.
The Chairman extended sympathy to the Chief Technical Officer and family circle on the death of a relative and close neighbour and friend. He said that the CTO was at the meeting to clarify any matters arising from the icy weather relating to refuse collection.
The CTO thanked the Chairman and Members for their kind remarks.
Refuse Collection Arrangements over Christmas and New Year
The CTO circulated to Members a report giving a brief summary of the refuse collection arrangements undertaken over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. He said that the arrangements had gone as planned up until Saturday, 29th December. On that day the general road conditions were poor with heavy snow forecast. A number of urban runs were completed and part of Castlederg rural run completed. The other two rural squads assisted the urban squads in completing their rounds.
On Monday 31st December road conditions were slippery with packed ice and refuse collection was limited to 2 No. urban runs, restricted to gritted/salted roads. Contact had been made with Highland and Downtown Radio stating the difficulties experienced.
The CTO said that the health and safety of the crews had to be considered plus the cost of the refuse vehicles and the safety to the public if a heavy vehicle was to go out of control. The decision as to whether the vehicle should be taken out rested with the driver.
The CTO said that a large number of telephone calls were received regarding the refuse collection service. Most people were reasonable but some were not and his staff were very stressed come Friday evening. The staff and people involved had done their utmost to deliver the refuse collection service but the safety of the workforce was paramount.
Councillor Breslin said that prior to the Christmas period, people had left out black bin liners containing refuse and these had been destroyed by dogs etc.
The CTO said that due to a lack of manpower and vehicles it had not been possible to put out skips in Housing Estates and he accepted that bags had been lying for a number of days and attacked by dogs, cats. etc.
Councillor McHugh said he was sorry to hear that staff had taken abuse from the public. He said he had received telephone calls from people but they accepted the explanation given to them. He said that in the three Estates in his area, the workforce had actually wheeled bins to an area which had been gritted for safety and he commended them for the work done. He asked if the Council had any input into the system where the farming community were to be involved in the clearing of roads.
The CTO said that the Partnering arrangements with Roads Service was for the clearing of footpaths in Urban Areas only. The Council had agreed to enter into the agreement but correspondence had been received from NILGA setting out concerns of other Councils regarding the Agreement. He said that in the past there had been a fairly informal arrangement with Roads Service and Council Workers had gritted Estates in the past to facilitate refuse collection but due to the holidays over Christmas this had not been possible.
Under the Partnership Agreement Council would have to provide insurance cover for employees and there would be no reward for assigning labour to the scheme. He said that the Agreement was not signed as further correspondence was awaited. He said that he had not received any request for assistance from Roads Service. Regarding the involvement of farmers, he said he had spoken to Mr. Webb and had been informed that the storm had been regarded as a small snowfall, which did not require implementing the scheme.
Councillor Bell said that she had received a few complaints regarding the refuse collection but two people had also complained at the attitude of the person answering the telephone.
The CTO said he was disappointed to hear the comments regarding the staff. He said that stress levels were high and he felt the staff had coped very well.
The CE said he had spent quite a bit of time in the Technical Office during the three days and every call was answered professionally with the customer in mind.
Councillor Donnell commended the CTO for the way he and the staff had handled the situation and fully supported the decisions taken. He said that the Wednesday collection in rural areas had not been collected for 3 weeks and asked that perhaps this be looked at in the future. He said that perhaps a notice be placed in the press explaining to the Public the position regarding the Refuse Collection over Christmas.
Councillor Emery said that given the conditions, the workforce had done an excellent job. He said that many of the workforce lived in the Rural Areas and had to make an effort to get to work. He said there was no reason for people to attack Council Staff. He commented that a lot of people listen to Radio Foyle and that it be included on the list of Radio Stations to be contacted in future. The CTO said he would take on board the suggestion regarding Radio Foyle.
Councillor Kerrigan congratulated the Officers and Staff for the work done. He said he had received a phone call from Roads Service to say that 2 gritter lorries had been damaged while out gritting and this must be condemned. Councillors had fought hard to get the roads gritted.
Councillor McHugh said that he totally deplored the stoning of the gritter lorry which led to the vehicle being taken off. He said that Roads Service had contacted local Councillors to explain the position. Councillor McHugh said that the Community Group in the area were investigating the matter and would seek the support of Council to have the road included on the schedule for gritting in the future.
Councillor McBride said that the road in question was a new route and said that there was growing concern about the stoning of service vehicles such as ambulances and fire crews. He said he was sorry to hear that Council staff had taken abuse regarding the refuse collection as he felt that they had done a good job. The weather was an Act of God and the public had to live with the outcome of this. With regard to the involvement of farmers in rural areas, he said that this would only operate if there was an extensive snow fall which he said had not happened for some years. He said that unless this system was extended to include the salting and gritting of slippery roads then it would not improve the situation.
Councillor McMenamin said that he would concur with the comments regarding the attack on the gritting lorries but said that the recent bad weather highlighted the need for an Emergency Plan. He complimented the workforce and the CTO for the work done by them and said that the workforce was second to none.
Councillor McGill said that she had received telephone calls regarding the refuse collection but none of these were abusive. The people were wondering when their refuse would be collected. The people in her area had not had a refuse collection from the 18th December until the 8th January. She said it was commendable that a collection had been arranged for the 29th December but the people did not see the benefit of this due to the weather but she would not want to put any staff or crews in danger.
The CE thanked the Councillors for their kind words regarding the staff. He said that there was likely to be more snowfalls and there was a need to be prepared. He paid tribute to the CTO, the Supervisors and the Staff for the work done by them.
The Chairman said he would be very supportive of the staff and of the ratepayers who did not get their bins emptied but said that the service could only be provided if conditions allowed. He said that Q102.9 Radio Station should also be included on the list. The Chairman said that the stoning of any service vehicle had to be condemned and informed Council of an incident where a person travelling from Plumbridge to Strabane had their windscreen broken by mature teenagers and said that this should be discouraged.
Councillor Donnell referred to the abuse of the skip site in Artigarvan and said that people had not bothered to put their rubbish in the skip but had dumped it beside it. He said that a shopkeeper from Strabane had actually come out to the skip and dumped the rubbish out of the van beside the skip.
Councillor Bresland said that the same had happened in Donemana. The CTO said that he was aware of this and private contractors had to be brought in to clear the rubbish from the skip site in Donemana.
Councillor McNamee said that the skip site in Newtownstewart was the same and washing machines etc. were left lying beside the skip. She proposed that CCTV or some other form of surveillance be placed at the skip sites in an effort to apprehend offenders. This was seconded by Councillor Donnell. Six Councillors asked to be recorded as abstaining from this course of action.
The CTO said that there would be continuing difficulty at skip sites until a number of sites were developed and manned and people educated on how to segregate their waste.
Councillor McBride said that the whole issue of waste was going to be highlighted within the next few months and offenders dealt with.
Councillor McNulty said that CCTV was not the answer but that people needed to be educated on how to manage waste.
Councillor McBride said that a combination of things were necessary including education but he said that there were a number of people that education would not reach.
The Chairman referred to a prosecution which had taken placed some years previous in the Plumbridge area where a person had been taken to Court for illegal dumping. He said Councillors had been reluctant to take the action but it proved worthwhile in that it prevented illegal dumping for a long time.
The Chairman thanked the CTO for attending the Meeting and reporting on the situation.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on Tuesday, 4th December, 2001 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin seconded by Councillor Bell and signed by the Chairman subject to the following amendments:-
Page 4 – Salting and Gritting
Councillor McGill expressed the view that the Minute on the above did not reflect accurately enough her annoyance with some of the answers from the Roads Service. It was agreed that the Minute relating to the above be amended to read as follows:-
“Councillors McGill and Emery voiced their concerns over the lack of salting and gritting services on the Glenelly Road towards Draperstown. Mr. Loughrey said that salting/gritting services were carried out as far as Cranagh and Councillor McGill said it was from Cranagh to the County March that was the problem. In the ensuring discussion about which routes would or would not benefit from the “extra salting” referred to in the local press, Councillor McGill was quite incensed with some of the contributions from Roads Service. She sought clarification on the term “extra salting” but she was still unclear about its meaning after Mr. Doherty’s explanation. Councillor Hussey asked that a map of the gritted routes be provided and Mr. Doherty said this would be made available via the Roads Service press release.”
Page 6 – Sporting Award
Councillor McHugh said that the Tyrone Senior Team should be included in the above Minute for invitation to a Civic Reception and that the name of Cormac McAnallen be on the list of invited guests. He said he had not mentioned Mr. O’Neill as he was a Member of the Teams.
Page 4/5 – Salting & Gritting
Councillor Hussey said that Roads Service had agreed to provide a map of gritted routes but to date he had not been furnished with this. It was agreed that Roads Service be requested to provide the maps as promised. Councillor Emery said that a list of the routes had appeared in the Press but no map.
Councillor McHugh requested that clarification be sought in writing from the Roads Service if the DRD Programme of Co-Working had been activated in the Strabane District Council Area during the recent bad weather.
Councillor Hussey said that the scheme was to utilise farmers in snow clearance and this was confirmed by Councillor Bresland.
Page 6 – Sporting Award
In reply to Councillor McGill, the CE confirmed that a letter of congratulations had been sent to Mr. O’Neill.
Notes on Housing Liaison Meeting
The Notes of the Housing Liaison Meeting held on Monday, 10th December, 2001 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor Emery seconded by Councillor McMahon.
Page 3 – 25 & 28 Stonyfalls
Councillor Bresland referred to the Minute relating to the above and said that he had not received a reply to the query.
Page 3 – No. 30 Greenville Road, Ardstraw
Councillor Emery said that he had not received a response from Mr. Kelly in relation to the above.
It was agreed that a letter would be sent to Mr. Kelly, District Manager requesting a response to the queries raised at the Housing Liaison Meeting.
It was further agreed on the proposal of Councillor Barr seconded by Councillor McMenamin that the Notes of the Housing Liaison Meeting be formalised into Minutes and produced on Headed Paper.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on Tuesday, 11th December, 2001 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin seconded by Councillor McHugh and signed by the Chairman subject to the following:-
Page 2 Final Paragraph
Councillor McGill queried the Minute and asked that clarification be sought from Mr. Cathcart in relation to the pole in question. This was agreed.
Page 7 – Public Meeting re Transfer Site
The CTO informed Members that the CBCO was still dealing with the legal aspects of the proposed site at Victoria Bridge. He said that with regard to public consultation this would have to be carried out after the legal aspects were clarified and done in conjuction with a Planning Application. Councillor McNulty asked that the people concerned about the site at Carricklee be given a briefing on the present position. He said that if the time table for moving from the site had slipped then they should be informed of this.
The Chairman said that some of the people involved in the Action/Community Groups relating to Carricklee were not giving out the accurate information furnished to them.
Page 7 – Post Mortem Procedures
The Chairman referred to the above and proposed that a letter be sent seeking clarification that Post Mortems for people within the Strabane District Council Area would be given the same priority as those from other areas. This was seconded by Councillor McNulty and agreed.
Councillor Hussey said that as this was a Reserve Matter, correspondence should be forwarded to the Northern Ireland Office.
Page 8 – Matters Arising from Roads Liaison Meeting
In response to Councillor Emery, the CE confirmed that a letter had been sent to Roads Service seeking a response to queries raised at Meetings on 31st October and 21st November, 2001.
Page 9 – No. 1 Main Street, Castlederg
Councillor McHugh reported that Roads Service had repaired the manhole at the above address before Christmas.
The Minutes of the Corporate Affairs Committee Meeting held on Tuesday, 18th December, 2001 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor McNulty seconded by CouncillorMcBride.
Page 6 – Lighting of Statues
Councillor McBride asked that the Minute in relation to the above should be amended to read Lighting of Sculptures and not Statues.
Councillor McMenamin complimented those involved in providing the lighting but said he hoped it was just temporary.
The CE reported that following a meeting with various Departments money had been committed for the Sculpture site and he said that quite a bit of work would be done before the Summer.
Councillor McMenamin stated that the site needed an innovative electrical engineer.
Northern Ireland Railway Network
Members considered correspondence from Eurotrack Ireland regarding the above and offering to meet Council to discuss the matter further.
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor McNulty seconded by Councillor McMenamin that Mr. Bob Pue, Chairman of Eurotrack Ireland be invited to come to a future Meeting of Council.
Notice of Motion Clydebank Action on Asbestos Group
Members considered the following Motion from West Dunbartonshire Council contained in letter dated 24th December, 2001 and unanimously agreed to support the Notice of Motion in principle:-
“This Council reaffirms our commitment to achieving justice for asbestos victims and their families.
Furthermore, this council condemns the legal loopholes being utilised by Federal Mogul Corporation, the parent company of T&N in order to deny rightful compensation to those in our community who were by asbestos poisoning whilst in their employment.
In particular, Council notes that there may be former Turners Asbestos Cement, Dalmuir workers who fall within this category.
Council notes that it is less than 12 months since this Council supported a successful campaign during the Chester Street scandal. Council now agrees to repeat the actions we took at that time. This will include contacting every Council in the United Kingdom asking them to condemn the activities of Federal Mogul and ask that they express their concern to Tony Blair, Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Helen Liddell, Secretary of State for Scotland, and Jack McConnell, First Minister of Scottish Parliament.
In addition to the above, this Council agrees full support, including financial if required, to the Clydebank Asbestos Group to assist their efforts in this campaign.”
Newtownstewart Development Association Ltd.
A Service Level Agreement for the provision of Tourist Information between Newtownstewart Development Association Ltd. and the Council for a 5 year period at a cost of £7,000 per annum was signed and sealed on behalf of the Council on the proposal of Councillor McBride seconded by Councillor Bell.
Burial Right Grants
Forms of Grant in respect of the following were signed and sealed on behalf of the Council on the proposal of Councillor McBride seconded by Councillor McNulty.:-
Robert Davis, 2, Deerpark Road, Ardstraw, Co. Tyrone. - 2 Plots
Andrew Porter, 11, Eden Park, CASTLEDERG - 2 Plots
Mary Jack, 69, Ballyheather Road, STRABANE. - 1 Plot
William Muir, 52, Duncastle Road, Newbuildings, Co. Londonderry. - 1 Plot
John Bradley, 21 Breen Park, Victoria Bridge, Strabane. - 1 Plot
Peter Whiston, 7, Ballyfatton Park, Sion Mills, Co. Tyrone. - 1 Plot
Best Value Bill
The CE informed Members that a copy of the above draft document would be available in the Members’ Library. He said that SOLACE and various other Groups were rejecting the Best Value Legislation and a draft response had been prepared. The CE said that Best Value had worked well within the Council. He had had a meeting with the Auditor who was happy with Council’s progress to date.
Councillor McBride proposed and it was agreed that Council support the Chief Executive’s response to the document.
Councillor Hussey commented that Best Value should be tied into the Review of Public Administration.
It was agreed that any Member wishing to comment on the document should forward their comments to the Chief Executive.
Parades “A Vision for the Future”
Members considered details of the above Conference to be held in the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick on Saturday, 26th January, 2002 at an estimated cost of £87 per person.
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Barr seconded by Councillor McBride that one representative from each Party attend the Conference if so desired.
Waste – Where Do We Put It?
Members considered details of the above Conference to be held in the Holiday Inn, Belfast on Friday, 18th January, 2002 at an estimated cost of £147.00 per person.
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Hussey seconded by Councillor Emery that the relevant Officer(s) plus 1 representative from each Party attend.
Co-Operation Ireland – Local Authority Linkages Programme
The CE placed before Members invitation for the EDO and 1 Councillor to attend a Steering Forum in Ennistymon, Co. Clare on 24th January, 2001, the costs of which including overnight accommodation would be borne by Co-Operation Ireland.
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor McHugh seconded by Councillor McMenamin that the Chairman or his nominee attend the Conference together with the EDO.
The CE placed before the Members request from HCAL for permission for an Officer to attend the Belfast Holiday World Show to be held from 18th to 20th January for 1 day and for an Officer to attend the Dublin Holiday Show to be held from 25th to 27th January for 2 days. This was agreed.
It was further agreed that the HLAC should make contact with Councillors on the Sperrin Tourist Development Ltd. and North-West Passage to arrange a schedule of days when Councillors would be available to attend the two shows.
Melvin Hall Maintenance
The CE placed before Members request for permission to use Coghan & Shackleton to undertake the mechanical and electrical refurbishment of Melvin Hall. The firm will oversee the tendering process for the work needed. Coghan & Shackleton have previously carried out all works to the plant room and have complete details and knowledge of the machinery and equipment in use. In conjunction with the Chief Building Control Officer an agreed number of working days would be allocated to the contract and costed accordingly. This was agreed to on the proposal of Councillor Bell seconded by Councillor Barr.
Councillor McMenamin said that he felt the Council had a duty to seek tenders for work and in response the CE said that in this instance, Cogan & Shackleton were being used as they had carried out the work at Melvin in the past.
Options for Service Delivery Review – Post Contract
The CE referred to an earlier decision by Council to engage PriceWaterhouseCoopers to complete an Options for Service Delivery Review. He advised Members that the full costing would be £9,500 but in order to minimise cost to Council it was proposed that the initial context reviews would be completed in-house resulting in a reduced consultancy cost of £4,500.
The Chief Executive informed Members that 2 thank you cards had been received from Mrs. E. Dooher and Mrs. P. Devine thanking the Chairman and Members for the presentation and reception in recognition of their years of service.
Strabane Library Project
The CE informed Members that the Laying of the Foundation Stone in relation to the above project would be held on Monday, 28th January, 2002 at 2 p.m. and would be performed by the Duke of Abercorn. Up to 100 people would be invited to the event and a reception would be held in the Council Offices. This was agreed to on the proposal of Councillor Emery seconded by Councillor McNamee.
Councillor Donnell said that a Computer Course for Councillors was arranged for the same day and in response the CE said that the date clashed with several other things but this was the only date available. It was agreed that the Computer Course could be re-arranged.
The CE informed Members that the following publications would be placed in the Members’ Library:-
1. Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland – Sixth Report 2000-2001.
2. Western Education Library Board, A meeting of the library Committee held at 2.30pm on Wednesday 21 November 2001 – Enniskillen Library.
3. Western Education Library Board, meeting held in the Headquarters Omagh on the 14th November 2001 at 2.30pm.
4. Western Education Library Board, Meeting of the Youth Committee Held on Thursday 22 November 2001 at 1.00pm.
5. Western Education Library Board, meeting of the finance Committee Held on Wednesday 28 November 2001 at 1.15pm.
6. Western Education Library Board, Third meeting of the service Committee held on Wednesday 28 November 2001 at 3.00pm.
7. Western Education Library Board, Nursery Education and Admission Arrangements 2002 Edition A guide for Parents.
8. Western Health And Social Services Board, Minutes of the Two Hundred and Thirty Seventh meeting of the Western Health and Social Services Board held on 27th September 2001 at 10.00am.
9. Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill, Part 1 The Judiciary
10. Criminal Justice Review, Implementation Plan
11. Western Health And Social Services Board Annual Report 2000-2001
12. Chief Commissioner’s Annual Report April 2000 to March 2001
13. The 2000 Report of the Director of Public Health
14. Lisburn Borough Council Annual Report 2000/2001
15. Western Education and Library Board, West Side Scene Issue 61 December 2001
16. Consignia Licence Condition 20 Postcode Address File (PAF) Code of Practice A consultation documents and notices December 2001
17. Western Education And Library Board Annual Report 2000 – 2001
18. Strategy for a World Class Telecommunications Infrastructure - Report by Mason Communications
19. Fermanagh Shadow Youth Council Strategic Report February 2001
20. Criminal Justice System Purpose and Aims December 2001
21. Water Service Annual Report & Accounts 2000-2001
22. The Northern Ireland Housing Market – Review and Perspectives 2002-2005
23. Department of Health, Social Services & Public Safety, Specification For A New Centralized Maternity Hospital In Belfast
24. The Planning Service Annual Report 7 Accounts 2000/2001
25. Belfast City Council’s Annual Report 2000/2001
26. Court Accommodation in Northern Ireland 2000- 2001, A Consultation Document
27. Shaping Our Future Regional Development Strategy for Northern Ireland 2025
28. Accommodation Strategy For Offenders, Consultation Paper
29. Translink, Passenger’s Charter
30. Price Control Review Consultation Paper, A Consultation Document
31. Going For Growth Annual Report 2000/20001
32. Water Service Corporate / Business Plan 2001 / 2005
33. Northern Ireland Assembly, Report on Draft Budget 2002 / 2003
34. Northern Ireland Consumer Committee For Electricity, Annual Report 2001
35. Unlocking The Potential Annual Report 2000 / 2001
36. Ringing The Changes – An overview of how the changes to the UK’s telephone numbering system were achieved (1997 – 2001)
37. Roads Services Annual Report & Accounts 1999 – 2000
38. RNID Impact Report 2000 - 2001
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Emery seconded by Councillor Bell to go “Into Committee”.