Sunday, 31 August 2014

Muir welcomes Planning Permission for Kinnegar Sewage Works

I have welcomed recent decision by the Department for the Environment to grant Planning Permission for planned works to eliminate ongoing sewage pollution problem and associated odour in the Kinnegar area, Holywood.

Decision to approve the Planning Application was presented to North Down Borough Council on Tuesday 19 August 2014 and now enables NI Water to proceed with necessary works.

Despite repeated assurances from NI Water planned work at Kinnegar to address the sewage problems has yet to commence. Again and again we have been promised action but to date no work has started. Work was first due to commence in 2012 but two years later nothing has happened. I am therefore glad that the Planning Application has finally been approved after being submitted in May 2013.

With an NI Water official recently informing me that if Planning Permission is given "we will be a position to start work early next month" I look forward to seeing machinery on site to address this long running saga which I have campaigned on since becoming a Councillor in 2010, securing £100,000 to identify the cause in 2010 and then over £3million to rectify.

After raising issue with Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy MLA and NI Water officials everyone is aware of the importance of resolving the Kinnegar sewage pollution problem which Holywood residents have endured for far too long.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Bangor Culture success

I am profoundly grateful to the organisers of Bangor’s Open House Festival. Kieran Gilmore, Alison Gordon and many others associated with Open House have managed to organise a significant series of cultural events throughout the month of August which are creating a real positive atmosphere in a town yearning for change, revitalisation and a new sense of identity.

Last year I asked Council to support my request to establish a Culture Night in Bangor recognising the economic and social benefits derived and the success stories from other towns and cities across the UK and Ireland.

Council thankfully agreed to support my motion and with the commitment, passion and vision of Kieran, Alison, Council officers and others we now have an entire Culture Day planned on Saturday 23 August 2014. I hope many people will engage and enjoy the event which will feature live bands, street-art Busking, Open air tea dance, Open air stage, Record fair, Speciality street market, Craft bazaar and Creative Emporium, Campervan Jam and Street entertainment. Anyone wishing to get involved should email arts@northdown.gov.uk Full information on events taking place at http://www.openhousefestival.com/bangor-2014/bangor-culture-day.html 

With examples across Europe and beyond proving that open, diverse, accepting and culturally rich towns and cities thrive rather than merely survive it is my hope and passionate desire that the Open House Festival and Culture Day provide us with the springboard to revitalise Bangor and build a new prosperous town more and more people are proud to call home.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Muir congratulates McIlroy on another tremendous victory

I have congratulated local golfer Rory McIlroy on his victory in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio. Rory will return to the top of the golfing world ranking.

I would like to congratulate Rory on yet another tremendous and hard fought victory. Rory is undoubtedly the best golfer in the world at the moment following this trophy and his Open Championship win, and his return to the top of the world ranking surely proves this to be true.

Everybody in Holywood and Northern Ireland is immensely proud of what Rory has achieved at such a young age. He is an outstanding ambassador for Northern Ireland and his continued success, along with that of Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke, is a major boost to brand NI.

I am sure that we will see more success from Rory and I would like to wish him all the best for the future.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Muir welcomes Redburn Country Park upgrades and events

Cllr Muir beside Redburn 5k Trail signage
I have welcomed range of events organised by NI Environment Agency for Love Parks Week which runs from 25 July to 3 August 2014 including Trails Day at Redburn Country Park, Holywood on Tuesday 29 July 2014 from 11am to 4pm which will showcase the new 5k Trail I secured after lobbying the Environment Minister.

After successfully lobbying the Environment Minister in 2013 to secure a 5k trail and £10,000 investment in Redburn Country Park I am delighted to see the new 5k Redburn Trail now being showcased this week. As a keen amateur athlete I am very aware of the lack of trails with steep inclines across Northern Ireland but know that when provided at, for example, Glenariff Forest Park, they are popular and useful places for training in preparation for the many road races across Northern Ireland.

Whilst the top loop track remains to be installed once wildlife situation permits in September all the signage is now in place and the route ready for use. I encourage people to have a try and consider the many other events also organised such as Crawfordsburn Country Park 5k on Wednesday 30 July 2014 evening at 7pm, On Yer Bike event also in Crawfordsburn Country Park on Thursday 31 July 10am to 4pm and the Kite Festival at Crawfordsburn Country Park on Saturday 2 August from 10.30am to 4pm.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Praise for Rory McIlroy’s fantastic victory

I am immensely proud of Rory McIlroy’s fantastic victory after the North Down golfer won the 2014 Open Championship.

This is another fantastic win for Rory, proving yet again his position as one of the best golfers in the world. 

With Royal Portrush set to host the Open in the next few years, Rory’s victory today puts Northern Ireland’s passion and talent for golfing on the map.  He has made everyone in North Down and Northern Ireland extremely proud – especially at his old clubhouse in Holywood.

Rory McIlroy truly is a great ambassador for Northern Ireland and we are all looking forward to following his career as his style, technique and flair continues to dominate golf tournaments in the future.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Nearly £13,000 raised for outgoing Mayor’s Charities

Cheque presentation with from left, Maria Kinney
(Camphill Communities), Glenn Aiken (Camphill
Communities), Cathy Cree (North Down YMCA),
David Seaton (Mark Pollock Trust), Barbara
Carson (Mark Pollock Trust, Mark Pollock's Mum),
Councillor Andrew Muir and Stuart Buchanan
(North Down YMCA)
.
I presented a large cheque on Monday 23 June 2014 for nearly £13,000 to my chosen charities when Mayor of North Down - Camphill Communities, North Down YMCA and the Mark Pollock Trust.

A range of events were organised over my Mayoral year in conjunction with the charities and Council staff including two Business Breakfast events, Antiques Valuation Fair, Golf Day at Bangor Golf Club sponsored by Barclays Bank, St Patrick's Day Musical Celebration, Charity Bag Pack, Raffle at Bangor Business Awards, Football Tournament and a Table Quiz.

Over my year as Mayor I sought to provide positive leadership with a focus on inclusivity, sport & creativity. My decision to support Camphill, YMCA and the Mark Pollock Trust reflected this desire with each organisation focused upon enabling every individual to reach their full potential regardless of age, disability, ethnicity or background.

Working as One we managed to raise the profile of each organisation whilst also raising funds to enable Camphill, YMCA and the Mark Pollock Trust to continue delivering their valuable services. Many thanks to everyone who donated funds and helped make such a successful outcome possible. I am truly grateful and confident that funds raised will help make a positive difference, delivering an enduring positive legacy from my year as Mayor

Three Charities to benefit from the sums raised will each receive over £4,300.

Commenting on sum raised Glenn Aiken from Camphill Communities stated "Camphill Communities NI have enjoyed the experience of working with the Mayor, particularly, when he was so hands-on, making mince pies in our café in Holywood. Also, our unique model of care for people with learning disabilities fitted well with his aim that each individual should be encouraged to reach their full potential. Many thanks to the Mayor from all at Camphill we thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated your support."

North Down YMCA has operating since 1979, is based in Queen's Parade, Bangor and as a faith-based voluntary organisation seeks to put the Christian faith into practice by empowering children, young people, families and communities to flourish in mind, body and spirit.  A spokesperson stated "Over the past year their staff and volunteers have supported over 800 individuals of all ages across North Down through their Youth Development, Healthy Living and Community Engagement programmes. Funds raised will help continue this vital work."

Remarking on the monies collected, Piers White from Mark Pollock Trust commented "At The Mark Pollock Trust we believe that the cure for spinal cord injuries simply requires enough of the right people having the will to make it happen. It is our mission to find and connect those people worldwide to fast-track a cure for paralysis. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Mayor for choosing Mark Pollock Trust as one of his Charities of the Year. The money raised will help enormously with our objectives and help fast-track a cure for this life changing injury."