Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee

Chairman’s Remarks

Councillor Barr, as outgoing Committee Chairman, thanked the Chief Executive (CE), the Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure (HCAL) and the Minute Clerk for all the work undertaken during his year as Chairman. He also thanked the Members for their co-operation during his term.

Report by Head of Culture, Arts & Leisure

The HCAL attended the meeting and presented her report. Arising out of the report the following was discussed.

The Alley Arts and Conference Centre

The HCAL referred to the draft programme for the forthcoming season, which had been circulated for Members’ information. She said that the programme itemised the events, which had been directly promoted, and those which had been hired. She reported that, in line with Riversdale Leisure Centre, a performance review would be undertaken at the end of a 6-month period.

In response to Councillor McHugh, the HCAL said that there were areas of programming still to be developed and Irish/traditional events would be reflected accordingly.

In response to Councillor McNulty, the HCAL agreed to distribute an electronic version of the final draft with a hard copy of the completed programme to be distributed to all Members.

Green Apple Award Scheme

The HCAL reported that the Alley Arts and Conference Centre had been recognised in the Green Apple Award scheme and presented with a gold award in the Civic category. She added that there would be a further invite to the House of Commons to receive a plaque. She noted that North Down and Newry & Mourne Councils were also represented at the awards ceremony.

Members offered their congratulations on receipt of the award. The HCAL said that further entries to awards schemes would also be considered later in the year.

Courtyard Public Artwork

The HCAL reported that a further small-scale model would be available in September and that the contract had been amended to reflect that this was required prior to full-scale casting. She added that the production of the bronze sculpture hoped to be completed in May 2008.

Arts Development Programme

On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Bresland, the summer and autumn arts programmes and costs of £12,000 were agreed.

Angling Regulations

The HCAL referred to new angling regulations, which had been circulated for Members’ information. She said that the key changes related to initiatives within the Loughs Agency to conserve the stock of salmon, sea trout, brown trout and pike in the Foyle and Carlingford areas.

North West Trail

The HCAL referred to the May minutes of the Steering and Marketing Committee, which had been circulated for Members’ information. She said that it was hoped to launch the Trail on 26 September 2007 at 11.00 a.m. at the Alley Arts Centre and that official invitations would be sent to Members in due course.

North West Passage (NWP)

The HCAL referred to the April minutes of the NWP Committee, which had been circulated for Members’ information. She advised that a further meeting had taken place but that the minutes had not yet been ratified. She noted that an evaluation report would be presented at the forthcoming meeting, which would outline the structure in order to move forward.

Sperrins Tourism

The HCAL referred to the April minutes of the Board Meeting, which had been circulated for Members’ information. She said that the focus was on an internal review of its role and she was aware that consultative workshops, involving familiarisation trips, public relations working with their membership base had been undertaken. She said that these areas would be reflected in forthcoming minutes.

The Chairman felt that the recent agreement to forward copies of Board minutes to Council would be beneficial in keeping Members informed on relevant issues.

Western Regional Tourism Partnership (RTP)

The HCAL referred to the April minutes of the Western RTP, which had been circulated for Members’ information. She advised that approval was sought to match fund the offer from the International Fund for Ireland at a level of £5,000. She added that each Council had been asked to choose and develop a theme and she noted that Strabane and Cookstown would be involved in the visitor package development programme.

On the proposal of Councillor McNulty, seconded by Councillor McMenamin it was agreed to match fund in the amount of £5,000.

Interreg lV Tourism Measure

The HCAL advised on a number of consultative processes in relation to strategic tourism projects for the North West. She outlined the key areas including project potential, marketing and feeding back into the Cross Border groups. She noted that Eamon Molloy, through the North West Regional Cross Border Group was working on the development of initiatives and the programme would depend on the overall extent of tourism measures.

Grant Aid Applications

The HCAL advised that an Expression of Interest was submitted under the SEUPB Shared Spaces Programme in relation to the Mourne Link project, which related to the Bridge development at Townsend Street. She said that the programme was oversubscribed and the outcome of initial findings was awaited.

Sports Development

Sportwest Partnership

The HCAL outlined the structure of the partnership including Councils, WELB, Coaching NI and Sport NI. She referred to the aims and objectives as outlined in her report and noted that a key issue was that WELB would be appointing a part- time Sports Development Officer (SDO) to develop an action plan for 2007 – 2010. Council’s commitment to continue with funding, to be reviewed annually, was sought.

Councillor McGill declared an interest as a WELB Board member.

In response to Councillor McGill, the HCAL confirmed that this partnership had been ongoing for some time. She said that its capacity had been limited to one sports event each year. She confirmed that there would be more benefits by joint working and development of the action plan. She added that the recruitment of a SDO would be a new appointment and understood that the core funding was coming from WELB resources.

In response to Councillor McHugh, the HCAL said that the action plan was one of the key outputs and therefore had not yet been developed. She confirmed that she would distribute last year’s delivery programme for Members’ information.

On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor McMahon, continuation of funding over the period 2007- 2010 at a level of £2,000 was agreed.

Building Sport Programme

The HCAL referred to the request from Sport NI for letters of support towards the following projects who were seeking financial support through the Building Sport Programme (BSP):
· Bracken Projectile Club for the development of an indoor range
· Owen Roe O’Neill’s GAC for an upgrade of the current facility

A discussion ensued and Members’ views included the following:

· Clarification that Council was supporting the general aims of the project rather than any specific details
· Ensure that any letter of support would be based on the structure of the club with no reference to any specific site
· Reservations and concerns of local residents had been previously expressed about a planning application by Bracken Projectile Club
· Structure, content, relevance and use of Council’s letter of support was discussed
· Overview of applications to BSP from sports clubs in district area
· As a corporate body, Council could support the principles of a club

In response to Members’ queries, the HCAL advised that Council was asked to comment on how the project met the criteria, including issues around the quality of the accreditation, the club’s involvement with the community, coaching structures, previous grant aid etc. She said that Council did not comment on the suitability of a particular site and only dealt with details of the project and the structure of the club.

On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Bresland the letters of support were agreed on the basis of the structure of the club and criteria for the project without being site specific. It was further agreed to distribute the letters to Members.

Sports Forum

Councillor McHugh noted that there was a need to update the Sports Forum Minutes which were linked from the Council’s website.

The HCAL said that there had been an administrative error in creating the link and the situation would be resolved. She added that Members would be informed of the forthcoming date for the Sports Forum’s AGM.

On the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Councillor Barr the report from the HCAL was adopted.

Environment Committee

The CE referred to the addendum for the forthcoming Environment Committee meeting, which had been tabled for Members’ attention which related to agenda items for the election of Committee Chair and Vice Chair.

The meeting concluded at 9.25 pm.


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