Banbridge District Council is looking at spending cash reserves on one off community projects which can be completed before the Council becomes part of the new ABC Council next April.
At a recent meeting of the Council’s Policy and Resoure Committee Councillor Sheila McQuaid put forward the request and Councillor Glenn Barr suggested the inclusion of a provision for sporting clubs.
It was suggested by the Director of Leisure and Development, Catriona Regan, that the Council may wish to consider running a Capital Grant Scheme for sporting projects as part of its legacy within the community.
Councillor Seamus Doyle reported that the disabled access ramp at Corbet Lough was not fit for purpose and is currently out of use.
He pointed out that the steps at the side of bank have given way and in his opinion, projects such as this should be given immediate attention from the Council reserves.
Acting Chief Executive, Pat Comiskey, encouraged the reporting of projects, such as Corbet Lough, which would be useful and fall within the outlined criteria.
It was clarified by the Director of Leisure and Development that a number of Council properties used by the community are in need of attention. However, most of these would not fall within the criteria for utilising reserves.
The Director added that of the nine Council owned synthetic pitches, six of these are in need of investment. The pitches at Banbridge Leisure Centre and Cheney Park urgently need new carpet at a cost of £200,000 each. If re-carpeted, the pitches would address a wider sporting agenda as they can be used for tennis, hockey and soccer.
Mrs McQuaid said that using half of the legacy money on re-carpeting two football pitches could not be justified as it would only benefit a small proportion of the community.
Reserves should be used for the grass roots community who are in real need she added.
The Director of Leisure and Development suggested that consideration be given to the legacy of FE McWilliam and she suggested making a Legacy Purchase for the Gallery and Studio.
They added that there is a long term plan to make the McWilliam collection historically complete and at present gaps exist between 1930 and 1950. However, there was a stone piece available which would help bridge that gap at cost of £100,000.
Councillor Hazel Gamble responded saying that the spending of such a large amount of money on a piece of art could not be justified particularly given the current economic climate and in her opinion that should be utilised for the betterment of the community.
It was recommended on the proposal of Mrs McQuaid and seconded by Councillor Olive Mercer that a Community Grant Scheme be advertised.
Mr Barr requested that members be given a copy of the criteria for the community grant scheme before being finalised.
The grants scheme will now be advertisied.