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NEWS IN BRIEF: Concerns raised over gift card, swimming pools to be refurbished and Causeway employment programme launched

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NEWS IN BRIEF: Concerns raised over gift card, swimming pools to be refurbished and Causeway employment programme launched

One councillor raised concerns about the card's financial viability.

Questions over viability of Gift Card scheme

A council-wide gift card scheme promoting a 'Shop Eat Enjoy Local' initiative has come under scrutiny at a recent council meeting.

Councillors at Causeway Coast and Glens Leisure and Development Committee were presented with details of the continuing scheme last week, with some raising questions about its viability.

Bann councillor, Richard Holmes, felt the idea did not make commercial sense.

“This is a nice idea, but you watch Dragons' Den and it's full of nice ideas that aren't commercially viable, and I get that feeling about this,” he said.

“I'm just wondering at this stage how we're planning to break even.”

In response, council officials said the scheme was a 'long burn', and there was a possibility that the 200 businesses signed up to the scheme could be asked to pay a fee.

“I don't see businesses paying to take this on, whenever they can get cash or card payments for free,” responded Cllr Holmes.

“I don't think we can cut our losses at this point, but to my mind, this is something that should not have gone through Council.”

Cllr Dermot Nicholl said businesses needed to be made more aware of the scheme.

“This has been successful in other council areas for driving footfall, so we have to try and do the best we can,” he said.

“We need to be engaging with businesses to promote this as best we can.”

Swimming pool works planned

Two County Derry leisure centres are to undergo maintenance improvements as part of a £99,000 Council Sport and Wellbeing Facilities upgrade programme.

Swimming pools at Roe Valley Leisure Centre in Limavady and Coleraine Leisure Centre will have their pool covers and filters replaced after the Causeway Coast and Glens Leisure and Development Committee approved the plans.

The work on the two leisure centres is set to cost £59,000.

Employment programme given approval

A 26-week pilot skills programme to target the hardest to reach unemployed in the Causeway Coast and Glens area has been given the green light at the Council's Leisure and Devlopment Committee.

The 'Causeway Up' programme hopes to deliver Level 2 qualifications in a number of areas identified through consultation with industry as key skills shortages.

30 participants throughout the Borough are set to benefit from the programme, for which the Council will pay 50% of the costs, amounting to £12,450.

Two unionist councillors nominated to tourism body

No nationalist councillors have been appointed to a tourism body which seeks to tap into the opportunities provided by the Sperrins region.

Causeway Coast and Glens councillors were asked to approve a change in name for the project, from Sperrins Future Search to Sperrins' Partnership Project, and nominate two elected members to the body.

The Sperrins' Partnership Project runs across five council areas, with the Sperrins lying on the western side of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough.

Cllrs Kathleen McGurk (Sinn Féin), Edgar Scott (DUP), Richard Holmes (UUP) and Ashleen Schenning (SDLP) were proposed as nominations to the body.

Cllr Schenning withdrew her name from the running, while only Cllrs Scott and Holmes received the necessary backing through votes from the Committee.

Hope that planned £18m investment will solve area’s wastewater flooding problems – Sugden

East Derry MLA Claire Sugden has welcomed a planned £18m investment in the wastewater systems of the constituency, with Limavady in line to see long-awaited investment in particular.

Ms Sugden used Assembly questions to quiz the Minister of Infrastructure about her plans for the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area over the following six-year “PC21” period.

The £18m covers improvements to Kilrea and Aghanloo wastewater treatment works; pumping stations at Bovally in Limavady and the North Coast Strand Road site; Dernaflaw sewerage system; and catchment upgrades in Limavady.

It will also go towards work intended to reduce unintentional discharge of wastewater through the combined storm overflow at Ballyclose Street in Limavady.

“The issues of flooding and wastewater discharge from the wastewater systems of this area have been ongoing for years now – particularly in Limavady,” Ms Sugden said.

“I hope these improvements both free residents from the threat of wastewater flooding and enable future local development without overloading the system.

“Development in Limavady has been hampered by the capacity of the wastewater system. Bringing the system up to standard and enabling residential and public development will have further positive knock-on effects for the area.”

During this time, base maintenance investments will also be conducted, Minister Nichola Mallon confirmed. This is in order to maintain the existing wastewater asset base.

“Public expenditure has continued to be squeezed, in part due to the economic pressures of the last year,” Ms Sugden continued.

“It is vital, however, that we continue to invest in essential services and infrastructure to maintain residents’ quality of life.”

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Derry Now editorial team on 028 7129 6600 for Derry City stories Or 028 7774 3970 for County Derry stories. Or you can email editor@derrynews.net or editor@derrypost.com at any time.


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