Refurbishment on the horizon for Glenlyon Park, Holywood

Holywood’s Glenlyon Park is set for major refurbishment works this winter. 
Having raised concerns a number of times in recent years, I am delighted the park’s current state of disrepair is finally going to be addressed.  The move will also address on-going anti-social behaviour in the area.
Glenlyon Park is a vital resource and a much enjoyed public space in the Holywood area.
However over the past few years this once Scenic Park has become a shadow of its former self, with wildlife dwindling and paths overgrown with untamed shrubbery, along with an increase in anti-social behaviour.
The planned works will include the removal of unnative species and plants, to be replaced by native, locally sourced foliage and I want to thank the local conservation volunteers who have pledged to help with the project.  Overall we will see greater diversity in the park, with the addition of many new species set to make the area a much more interesting park to visit.
I am passionate about creating a clean and green borough, with a range of open spaces available for shared activities and enjoyment.  I’m delighted the Council has listened to my concerns and am hopeful that Glenlyon Park will be returned to its former glory.

Celebrating Rory McIlroy's achievements

Golf Champion Rory McIIroy could see his major achievements permanently celebrated in Holywood, if plans get the go-ahead.

I recently secured support from the relevant Ards and North Down Borough Council Committee calling for officers to investigate the possibility of a permanent recognition of the golfing star in liaison with his Management Company.

Rory McIIroy is a fantastic role-model for the next generation across Northern Ireland – proving that if you dream big and work hard you can achieve great success.

Rory has been at the top of his game for a number of years now, but while he is travelling the world Holywood will always be his home.  I believe it is a fitting tribute for his home town to celebrate his achievements in whatever manner considered appropiate.

This motion calls on Council officers to look at the different options available and engage with his Management Company to establish what is desired.

At a time when Northern Ireland continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, we must recognise the positive headlines Rory McIIroy makes every time he picks up his clubs.

Official Opening of SERC SPACE welcomed

Minister for Employment and Learning
Dr Stephen Farry MLA and I at
Official Opening of SPACE in Bangor
I joined Alliance Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry MLA in Bangor on Tuesday, as a new £12 million arts facility at the town's South Eastern Regional College (SERC).

A state of the art facility, SPACE - Serc Performing Arts, Computing and Engineering - will not only equip students with specialised skills, but is also set to open Bangor up to Northern Ireland's growing film industry.
I was delighted to join Minister Farry in Bangor as he opened this campus. A fantastic addition to the growing Further Education (FE) estate, SPACE will be an asset to the college and local community alike for years to come.
As an elected representative for North Down, I am aware of the historic need for improved theatrical and performing arts facilities in the area. With this new theatre and auditorium available to both students and the wider community for use, this project will only help address this need - further developing a growing, vibrant arts scene across the constituency.
But it is not only through the arts sector that SPACE will have an impact locally. With the facilities to develop the next generation of skilled engineers and build on new technological advancements, Bangor's local economy will play a direct role in building a strong economic future for Northern Ireland.
I would encourage local residents to come along and check out what's available at SPACE. As a local resident and elected representative I'm looking forward to working with both the college and community and I'm confident that together the full potential of this new facility will be utilised.
Back in September 2013 I joined Minister Farry and SERC Principal Ken Webb to launch plans for SPACE. With the work completed on time, I'm delighted to again join him - this time unveiling the finished product.
Launching plans in September 2013
Locally Alliance is committed to building a creative, innovative, skills rich borough and SPACE will go a long way in helping turn these aspirations into a reality.
This initiative is also set to showcase the benefits that come from enabling people across all sectors to work together to grow our economy. I look forward to being part of this process and would encourage everyone across North Down to support SPACE how they can.

Muir welcomes Council’s e-car pledge

I am delighted to see Ards and North Down Council make a commitment to electric cars. The Council recently backed plans to put its support for e-cars down on paper by signing up to the electronic vehicle charter.
With low emissions, electronic cars are an excellent and effective way to get around while protecting the environment.
By drafting its own charter, Ards and North Down Council is sending out the message that we car and that we want to be part of the growing movement geared towards a cleaner, healthier way of life.
This also could signal more charging points across the area, with the Council set to use an electric pool car if funding from the UK government is successful.
Alliance is an environmentalist party and we firmly believe that climate change is happening, directly at the hand of humanity. It gives me great delight to welcome a greater support for the e-car, but we must ensure this initiative is followed through.

Muir welcomes restoration of war memorials

Plans by Ards and North Down Borough Council to restore the war memorials across the Borough are a 'fitting tribute' to those who laid down their lives, ahead of the 2018 anniversary of the ending of World War 1.
Ards and North Down Borough Council have agreed a £20,000 project that will see the 11 local war memorials refurbished, with work including new memorial plagues, new seating close by and boundary railings and walls replaced appropriately.
I'm delighted to see the Council taking significant steps to ensure all local war memorials are restored ahead of the 2018 anniversary.
Protecting local war memorials from vandalism and theft has been an issue I have worked tirelessly on and previously I secured funding from the War Memorials Trust to enhance security for local memorials.
A great many men from across Ards and North Down gave their lives during World War 1 and it is only right that 100 years on we recognise and respect the sacrifice they made.
I will be monitoring progress on this project to ensure everything runs on schedule - estimated to take 18 months to complete, we cannot afford to fall behind.