Sunday, 15 September 2013

Minister clarifies Portavo Reservoir Future

Cllr Andrew Muir at Portavo Reservoir
The future for Portavo Reservoir has been clarified by the Minister for Regional Development Danny Kennedy MLA during a joint meeting with North Down and Ards Mayors on Wednesday 4 September 2013.

I met with Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy MLA as Mayor of North Down along with Councillor Stephen McIlveen, Mayor of Ards to find out more about Portavo Reservoir amid concerns it would be sold off on the open market during 2014/15.

With recent correspondence from NI Water indicating plans to sell Portavo Reservoir during 2014/15 many people were legitimately concerned that the Reservoir would soon be sold, public access end and local people denied right to enjoy this wonderful environmental asset forever. With the Reservoir transcending North Down and Ards Council boundaries a joint meeting with respective Mayors and the Minister responsible was therefore arranged and has clarified plans for Portavo.

We were informed that whilst no plans exist to sell during current financial year no guarantees can be offered for future years and that first step would be to offer to other public bodies, including local Councils, who will then have to make a formal decision concerning whether to develop a Business Case to procure from NI Water or refuse the offer. Thereafter if no public bodies interested would move to sale via open market.

Whilst not ideal, at least the future is now clear and relevant bodies and people can prepare to engage and lobby NI Water and Department for Regional Development to ensure correct outcome.

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