Friday, 26 April 2013

Muir describes Redburn Park developments potential runaway success

Cllr Muir at Redburn Country Park
With the 5k Trail Run at Crawfordsburn Country Park extremely popular and Redburn Country Park underused but yet offering unique terrain and views I am keen to explore possibilities of a formal marked and measured 5k Trail Run at Redburn Country Park which is located near Belfast off the Old Holywood Road, Holywood.

As a keen amateur athlete and member of North Down Athletic Club the lack of trail runs across Northern Ireland with steep inclines is apparent but yet where these are offered (such as at Glenariff Forest Park) they have proven very popular with hundreds of people turning out on New Year’s Day to complete the exhilarating Race over the Glens in Glenariff. They can also prove useful places for training in preparation for the many road races across Northern Ireland which include significant hills.

After writing to the Minister for the Environment I was delighted to receive a response informing me that my suggestion is under active consideration with Minister Attwood stating “I am confident that it would increase the usage of the Country Park and provide more challenging run than that at Crawfordsburn Country Park”.

Delivery of this marked course could be the gateway to future events such as an annual race whilst also promoting active living and increasing visitor numbers in Holywood area. I look forward to receiving further updates on the project which has already gained lots of interest, further enhancing prospects that it will be a runway success if delivered.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Muir welcomes Kinnegar Sewage pollution progress

 Cllr Muir at polluted Kinnegar Lagoons
Significant engineering works are now planned to resolve the sewage pollution problem at Kinnegar.

NI Water plan to dig a tunnel under the A2 Bangor to Belfast road to divert sewage flows from the Kinnegar Lagoons to the Treatment Works and repair the damage already done which results in an awful odour on a regular basis.

Following exhaustive surveys which involved boat trips and soil samples taken from Kinnegar Lagoons the precise cause has been confirmed as raw sewage being pumped into Kinnegar Lagoons with the residual waste remaining causing malodour during inclement weather or when tide levels are low. Diverting sewage from the into the Treatment Works will cost over £3million and require new pipes and a tunnel under the Bangor to Belfast Road and Railway Line.

In order to minimise any disruption advance planning has now commenced and access to relevant areas is being requested. Once everything is in place work will take 12 to 15 months. I have been assured by NI Water that local residents will be consulted and kept informed on an ongoing basis to address concerns and reduce any inconvenience caused. If all goes to plan a contractor should be ready to start work in August 2013. Once the new set-up is in place the focus will then turn to how to repair the polluted reed beds and ensure the sewage remaining does not continue to damage the environment nor cause any more bad smells.

My relentless campaign to end the Kinnegar sewage pollution problem will not end until the pollution stops, smell eliminated and environment returned to it’s original state. Getting NI Water to acknowledge the problem and commit over £3million to a solution was an important first step. I look forward to seeing real action on the ground later this year. Local residents, businesses, visitors and commuters have suffered enough.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Muir welcomes Town Hall Cycle Rack

Cllr Muir at Town Hall Cycle Rack
I welcome the arrival of a Cycle Rack at Bangor Town Hall after campaigning for its installation for many months. A rack capable of accommodating four bicycles has been installed to facilitate Council workers, visitors and Councillors who choose to travel to the Town Hall via bicycle.

Cycling is a quick, cheap and environmentally friendly way to travel, especially for short distances. Provision of secure separate bicycle parking at the Town Hall is another small step towards a Bicycle friendly Borough. Research proves that good infrastructure facilitates and encourages cycling as a sustainable and active method of transport.

I am very thankful to Council officers for providing this rack with yet more progress on the horizon after securing a cycle rack at Sainsbury’s Bangor and support for exploring a Cycle Hire Scheme in Bangor and Holywood. The wheels seem to be in motion towards a Bicycle friendly Borough.