Sunday, 25 January 2015

Council rejects opportunity to save Reservoirs

Cllr Andrew Muir and Cllr Stuart Anderson at one of the
Reservoirs Council has decided not to save
I am disappointed the new North Down and Ards District Council has decided to reject opportunity to explore saving redundant Reservoirs across the new Council area. North Down and Ards District Council was offered eight redundant Reservoirs by Northern Ireland Water in August 2014 but has now rejected Alliance proposal to explore full costs associated with purchasing the environmental havens, except for Portavo Reservoir near Donaghadee. Council has decided to only acquire Portavo Reservoir in principal with an Economic Appraisal now due to be compiled in order to fully evaluate likely initial and ongoing costs if purchased.


After leading a long campaign to save these redundant Reservoirs I am gobsmacked Council has decided to take such a stance with all the other reservoirs likely to be offered for sale to the highest bidder by NI Water. Despite calls from DUP MLA Alex Easton that the Council purchase the reservoirs on offer the DUP stubbornly voted against our proposal to save these environmental havens. Reservoirs now potentially up for sale are Lough Cowey, Portaferry, Creightons Green Lower, Holywood, Ballysallagh Upper & Lower (Craigantlet), Conlig Upper & Lower (Bangor) and Church Road, Holywood.

The vast array of wildlife which lives in these Reservoirs is now at risk with current recreational rights, such as Angling, now facing an uncertain future especially in Conlig where it is feared they could be zoned for housing.
Commenting on the issue, Alliance Councillor Stuart Anderson remarked “Whilst I welcome the decision to actively explore purchase of Portavo Reservoir I am disappointed that the new Council has decided to spurn this opportunity and instead chose to reject all bar one without even understanding total costs associated with purchase. A few days after Newry, Mourne and Down District Shadow Council agreed to invest £1.25million in Camlough Reservoir, North Down and Ards Shadow Council have instead chosen to ignore carrying out an economic appraisal on the benefits on offer at all the sites, except for one."

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