Carrick council announces £1.5 million capital spend

CARRICKFERGUS Borough Council is to spend £0.5 million having the marine basin dredged.

The work is part of a multi-million investment in the next financial year by the local authority, which has also earmarked £1.5 million for the new Eden Community Centre.

Details of the initiatives were revealed this week and follow last month’s announcement of a 1.86 per cent rate increase.

In a statement to the TIMES, Carrickfergus Borough Council reflected on the current financial year as a period which has seen a significant amount of investment in creating new and improving existing community assets.

“The new Marine Gardens play park which has become a favourite facility for all of our younger residents cost council £1.3 million and has helped to transform the public space beyond recognition along with the new Cenotaph and works to the clock tower area. Work is virtually now complete on Carrickfergus town centre’s vastly improved streetscape, which council contributed £200,000 to the overall scheme.

“Significant investment has also occurred in Whitehead with help from DARD’s GROW initiative including improvements to Blackhead Path, the installation of several pieces of public art and outdoor gym equipment, interpretative signage and new outdoor seating.”

The statement went on to say the Antrim Street administration is committed to continuing to deliver on its goals and investment strategy.

“We have worked hard as a council to generate efficiencies to free up money for additional investment. Such cost efficiencies including the freeing up of back office staff and the transition of the civic amenity site at Sullatober into the new household recycling centre, both of which have been done in consultation with our citizens and advice from other agencies to improve the quality delivery of our services. The former is imperative given the heavy penalties laid down by the EU which will ultimately be passed on to you the ratepayer. We are trying to encourage a change in habits with an increase in recycling.”

Council also pointed to its support of construction industry jobs with capital investment schemes planned for the period 2013-14.

“Council is investing a £1.5 million budgeted capital spend on the new Eden Community Centre with a further £500,000 ring-fenced for the long overdue dredging of the marine basin. We are creating a new car park at Barnfield and investing in ongoing improvements to Marine Gardens, Whitehead Recreational Grounds and at the Amphitheatre leisure facility. Council will be redoubling its efforts to secure funding for improvements in Greenisland. “We are currently applying for funding for the Townscape Heritage Initiative and to DSD for the Revitalise scheme to restore dilapidated buildings and improve the shop fronts in Carrickfergus town centre by painting and implementing cosmetic works. It is hoped that the outcome of both applications will be known in May.”

With a total of £345,000 thousand invested in the community sector in the current financial year, the local authority underlined its commitment in this area.

“The Programme for Government clearly states that the best means of ensuring economic recovery in the long term is for effective partnership working across the public, private, community and voluntary sectors and this strategy is certainly endorsed by this council. Working in partnership allows us to maximise the benefits of opportunities as they present themselves to improve every aspect of the borough. Council is committed to delivering for the borough and fully recognises that we need to continue to proactively invest in facilities for the local community to ensure that our residents receive high-quality local services.”