Muir continues Cairn Wood Campaign

Councillor Muir at Cairn Wood
Forest with dog Jock
I am continuing the campaign to ensure Cairn Wood remains in public ownership with the tranquil nature unaltered by requesting a meeting with Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA to discuss transfer arrangements for Forest Service announced in haste last week at the eleventh hour just before I was about to bring issue to full Ards and North Down Borough Council meeting at Bangor Castle.

The meeting has been requested after last week’s announcement from Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen MLA who, in response to nearly 3,000 signatures on the Petition I set-up, suspended sale of the site with a Forest Service spokesperson outlining plans to transfer the site to Forestry.

Whilst I welcome Minister McIlveen’s last minute u-turn to suspend sale in response to a strong and vocal campaign, I am determined to secure the long term future for Cairn Wood within public hands. With a distinct lack of details of the proposed transfer to Forest Service, I am working with my colleague Chris Lyttle MLA in seeking a meeting with the Minister responsible for Forest Service to provide necessary reassurance for all concerned, whether it’s walkers and runners who use Cairn Wood or Anglers using Ballysallagh Upper Reservoir. Chris recently raised this matter at the NI Assembly and presented the petition to the Minister in recent weeks.

I will not relent in my desire to ensure a secure future for all environmental assets in North Down that face prospect of sale or destruction, whether it be Cairn Wood, Kinnegar Lagoons in Holywood or local beaches, our environment should be treasured, protected and sympathetically enhanced not sold and destroyed.