Thursday, 7 July 2011

Portavo Preservation Group established

Portavo Reservoir - Photo from Save Portavo
Reservoir Facebook profile
PRESS RELEASE

A new organisation, Portavo Preservation Group, has met for the first time and is drawing up a plan of action to save Portavo reservoir for future generations of anglers, walkers and environmentalists.

Speaking after the first meeting of the group last night, Alliance Councillor, Andrew Muir, said: “While Northern Ireland Water has deferred the sale of the reservoir until 2012/13, we need to look at ways to ensure it remains in permanent public ownership and is not sold off. 

“Neither the Department of Environment nor Northern Ireland Water incurred any expenditure in acquiring the asset and have had minimal expenditure in its maintenance over the years. It was the ratepayers of Donaghadee who bought the reservoir in the first place, so why should we have to pay to keep it for public use?

“I have been lobbying Government for some time on this issue and very much welcome the formation of this new action group - local people taking control of a local issue.” 

Chairman, Richard Moore, said: “I would like to thank Councillor Andrew Muir for bringing the Group together and offering initial leadership. 

“We are local people interested in protecting the ownership of this beautiful lake. There is genuine concern that in the current austere climate the reservoir might be sold off and it could be lost to the public forever. 

“The reservoir is a place of peace and tranquillity where young and old can relax and switch off from today’s busy world either fishing, bird watching or just walking. The lake and its hinterland are richly diverse wildlife habitats with a wealth of flora and fauna that must be preserved and protected. We intend to do just that.

“A tremendous number of people visit the reservoir regularly and they are enthusiastic supporters of what we are trying to do. Nearly 400 of them have joined our Facebook page as a way of keeping in touch with the issue.”

Councillor Muir added:  “We are very grateful for support of many politicians, in particular, Lady Sylvia Hermon MP.  It’s important that local politicians are involved in the campaign to save Portavo and that those who will decide on its future are aware of the strength of feeling about the issue.”

The next meeting of the Group will be on 22 August and all those who support the case to save Portavo will be very welcome to attend. 

Further information about the venue will be posted on Facebook nearer the time or contact 
Richard Moore: moores.pinehill@btinternet.com or myself 

NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Donaghadee Urban District council bought the land at Portavo in 1932. 
2. Following reorganisation of local government in 1973 it passed to DOE Water Service under the Transfer of Functions Order and thence to Northern Ireland Water.
3. Portavo has not operated as a reservoir since 1974.
4. Follow us on Facebook – Save Portavo Reservoir.

Further information contact Richard Moore: moores.pinehill@btinternet.com 

Media enquiries to Jill Heron:  jill@jillheron.plus.com Mob:07717732696

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