Agenda and minutes

Environment and Regeneration Committee
Wednesday 12 February 2020 4.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Strabane Council Offices. View directions

Items
No. Item

ER30/19

Notice and Summons of Meeting

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration read the Notice and Summons for the Meeting.

ER31/19

Apologies

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration completed the roll call and apologies were recorded from Councillors Burke and Dobbins.

ER32/19

Declarations of Members' Interests

Minutes:

Councillor McCann declared an interest in Item 20 – Mobuoy Road as a member of The Gathering and Into The West.

ER33/19

Refillable Water Facilities

Minutes:

In response to a request from Councillor Durkan for an update in regards to Refillable Water Facilities, the Head of Environment advised that Council were currently considering options in terms of the lease or purchase of fillers which involved consideration of a number of issues.  He stated that leasing appeared to be the better option and it was anticipated that a tender would be issued in the near future in respect thereof.  Discussions had taken place with experts in this area together with the Facilities Manager in terms of progressing the matter.

 

ER34/19

Muff Glen

Minutes:

In response to a query from Councillor Durkan, the Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that he was not aware of the up to date position in respect of Muff Glen.  However, she undertook to present a report thereon to the March Meeting of Committee.  She suggested that if Members requested, Officers could write to DAERA and the relevant Minister asking for an update in reference to works to repairs at their facility.

 

ER35/19

Confirmation of the Open Minutes of the Environment and Regeneration Committee held on Wednesday 15 January 2020 and Special Meeting held on Wednesday 22 January 2020 pdf icon PDF 311 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Open Minutes of the Environment and Regeneration Committee held on Wednesday 15 January 2020 (ER1/20-ER22/20) and Special Meeting held on Wednesday, 22 January 2020 (SER1/20-SER4/20) were signed by the Chairperson as correct.

 

 

ER36/19

Dog Fouling on Peace Bridge (Ref ER9/20)

Minutes:

In response to a query from Alderman Ramsey regarding the above issue, the Director of Environment and Regeneration referred to lengthy discussion which had taken place at the January Council Meeting on the issue of Dog Fouling when it was agreed that the Health and Community Directorate would consider all issues raised regarding this issue including the possible installation of CCTV cameras.  She advised that the Environment and Regeneration Directorate would feed into the process in regards to street cleansing and a detailed report on the matter would be presented to a future Meeting of the Health and Community Committee.

 

ER37/19

Deputation - To receive representatives from Mobuoy Remediation Project Team to give a Presentation on The mobuoy Remediation Project (SER4/20)

Minutes:

In regards to discussion which had taken place at the Special Meeting held on 20 January 2020 regarding the Mobuoy Road site, Alderman Devenney sought clarification on the number of site visits carried out by NIEA after it had assumed responsibility for this site until its closure.  He queried the findings of any site visits which had taken place.  If it was confirmed that no site meetings had been carried out he said it would be necessary to determine why not.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that a regular report would be presented to Committee to inform and update Members in regards to the Mobuoy Road site.  The Head of Environment added that this issue would be addressed by NIEA in their report.

 

 

ER38/19

Natural Capital Account Report pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members agreed that the above report which had originally been designated for information be considered at this stage in the Meeting as it included a presentation.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to present Members with the Natural Capital Account (NCA) report for Council owned green and blue spaces.  This was an action from the Derry and Strabane Green Infrastructure (GI) Plan 2019-2032, which would assist Council to place a value on and to manage its green and blue spaces.

 

The Bio-Diversity Officer gave a power-point presentation highlighting the following:

 

Introduction

                                               

What Is Green Infrastructure?

 

-      Functions

-      Green Infrastructure Plan Stages

 

Green Infrastructure Plan

 

-      Green Infrastructure Action Plan 2019-2032

-      Green Infrastructure Plan and Community Plan

 

Natural Capital Account

 

-      5 Million visits are made to Council managed greenspaces each year

-      £1 billion in benefits over the lifetime of the GI Plan (2019-2032)

-      Greenspaces enhance the health and wellbeing of adult visitors

-      St Columb’s Park and Brooke Park generate the most benefit and provide the most value

-      For every £1 spent on Council’s greenspace it provides £22 of benefits/year

-      Greenspaces provide £26m in physical health value

-      Residents are willing to pay £2m/year to live near greenspaces

-      The benefits of greenspaces can be enhanced

-      Investments in existing spaces could increase value by attracting new visitors

-      The GI Plan provides an opportunity to use natural capital accounting in decision-making

 

Members thanked the Bio Diversity Officer for her presentation and commended her on its positive content.

 

In response to a query from Councillor Hunter, the Bio-Diversity Officer advised that whilst consideration was being given to the provision of amenities in various facilities, Council was not currently planning additional accessible disabled changing facilities within its greenspaces.

 

Alderman Devenney highlighted the need for the provision of disabled access on Council facilities.

 

Members acknowledged the importance of greenspaces and the many positive benefits to be derived therefrom from an economic and health/wellbeing perspective as detailed in the presentation and the need for Council to enhance its Green Infrastructure Plan.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that the issue of accessibility would be addressed corporately with Council seeking opportunities to improve accessibility on all of its assets throughout the District and to work with any partners in delivering in this regard.  She pointed out that the Natural Capital Account audit enabled Officers to use the positive information available when seeking funding.  She referred to the need to ensure the inclusion of all of the partners and to invest in these facilities for both physical and economic regeneration.  She continued that central government would be preparing a Climate Change Strategy which information could be fed into in terms of blue and green spaces within the Council district and the issues which needed to be addressed.  She stated that this could be used in terms of  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER38/19

ER39/19

Castlederg War Memorial pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Minutes:

The Regeneration Manager presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members on plans to add four names to the Castlederg War Memorial and seek approval for the cost of the work to be carried out.

 

Alderman Devenney welcomed the above report.

 

Alderman McKane welcomed Council’s proposal and stated that this was a fitting tribute to the individuals concerned.

 

In response to a query from Councillor McHugh regarding the possibility of The British Legion paying for the works, the Head of Environment explained that memorials were Council’s responsibility.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that approval be granted to the erection of this plaque and the proposed expenditure as outlined above.

 

 

ER40/19

Green Infrastructure Plan (2019-2032) - Governance and Delivery pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to present the proposed Governance and Delivery arrangements to effectively project manage the delivery of the Green infrastructure (GI) Plan (2019-2032).

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that approval is granted to adopt the GI Plan Governance and Delivery arrangements as outlined above.

 

 

ER41/19

Energy Strategy - Response to Call for Evidence pdf icon PDF 174 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to seek approval to respond to the Department for the Economy’s Call for Evidence on the Draft Energy Strategy.

 

Councillor Jackson welcomed Council’s engagement with their counterparts in Donegal County Council and the North West Regional Energy Strategy approach in terms of achieving a carbon target.  He said it was necessary to tackle this in a strategic manner in terms of Council delivering on its ambitions in regards to zero carbon emissions.  He referred to the Permanent Secretary’s reference to the issue of renewable heat as a result of which the target had not been achieved and the subsequent lessons learned in terms of delivering a strategy in respect of which Council had a key role.  He expressed concern that Council’s response focussed excessively on its position in regard to Council owned buildings, facilities and services.  The Department, however, appeared to have adopted a district wide approach and when considering price comparisons suggested that in the North levels were considerably lower whilst not pointing out that levels of deprivation here were considerably higher.  He continued that when considering levels of carbon emissions, he said it was necessary to bear in mind that many local constituents were faced with a decision on whether to prioritise eating or heating with carbon emissions not presenting as a matter for major consideration. 

 

Councillor Jackson pointed out that there were opportunities to improve energy efficiency in properties within the Council area to help alleviate fuel poverty and he requested that this fact be incorporated into Council’s response.  He referred to the amount of renewable energy produced within this Council area which was wasted because it could not be connected to the grid.  He suggested that this issue should also be included in the response to encourage efforts to establish a Smart Grid to ensure that no electricity generated within this Council area was wasted.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration undertook to incorporate these suggested comments into the response.  She also appealed for Members to submit any additional remarks which they wished to have included in the response prior to the deadline.  She stated that the Call for Evidence consultation was part of a wider strategy of engagement.  She stated that the Department for Economy’s Head of Energy would be delivering a Workshop for Councils across Northern Ireland in an effort to provide more information for local Councils and to seek their views.

 

In response to a query from Councillor Durkan, the Director of Environment and Regeneration undertook to establish if there were any planned public engagement events. She said she understood the entire process would involve a number of phases. 

 

The Energy Manager said he understood there were a number of planned public engagement events.  He referred to the roadmap which showed that Council had identified energy efficiencies as one of the major issues and were endeavouring  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER41/19

ER42/19

Council's Pollinator Plan 2020 pdf icon PDF 251 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to present Members with Council’s Pollinator Plan arising from the action list detailed within the Derry and Strabane Green Infrastructure Plan 2019-2032.

 

Councillor Duffy welcomed the Pollinator Plan and stated that she had spoken to a number of bee keepers who were delighted with the content of the Plan.  It was their aspiration to establish Brooke Park as a native area for the Black Bee enshrined in the Plan.  She commended the Bio Diversity Officer on her hard work and endeavours in respect of developing this Plan.

 

Alderman Devenney acknowledged the vital role of bees in terms of pollination.

 

Alderman Ramsey suggested that members of the Bee Keeping Community advise Council on the most Bee friendly plants to use in terms of pollination.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration undertook to address the issues raised through social media and, if Members so wished, invite representatives from the Bee Keeping Society to address a future Meeting of Committee.

 

Councillor Duffy advised that the Bee Keepers at Brook Park would be restarting Saturday Morning Information event at Brooke Park.  She advised that the group had been successful in a recent funding application and she reinforced the urgent need to have the leasing issue at Brooke Park resolved.

 

Subsequently, the Committee

 

Recommended       that approval is granted for the (a) Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Pollinator Plan 2020 aligned to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 and that (b) Council will work with the National Biodiversity Data Centre (the main author of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan) and its partners, to shape the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2021-2025, to help conserve pollinators on the island of Ireland and at a local level within the District.

 

 

ER43/19

Carlisle Road and Spencer Road Revitalisation Schemes pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Minutes:

 

The Regeneration Manager presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members on current progress in respect of the Revitalisation shopfront improvement schemes proposed for Carlisle Road and Spencer Road and to seek authority to proceed with the appointment of the external design team.

 

Councillor Jackson welcomed the above report and progress on this much anticipated scheme.  He pointed out that he had been in contact with a number of traders from Spencer Road who had expressed considerable interest in the scheme having seen the impact of other schemes on an entire area.  He referred to the fact that Spencer Road was in much need of investment with many of its traders struggling to remain in business and this scheme would prove extremely beneficial.  He commended Council Officers and CCI on their hard work and efforts in delivering these schemes and anticipated a final report on the impact of the completed scheme on the area.

 

Alderman Devenney also welcomed these schemes and commended those Officers involved in developing these schemes.

 

In response to a query from Alderman Devenney, the Regeneration Manager confirmed that the schemes would include commercial signage, painting of shop frontage and a number of issues around the façade of the premises.

 

In response to a query from Alderman McKane relating to similar schemes being considered for towns like Castlederg, the Regeneration Manager advised that currently, the DfC Revitalisation funding extends to major urban conurbations within the District such as Derry City Centre and Strabane Town Centre. The Regeneration Manager advised that he was aware that Department for Communities had previously been reviewing eligible areas for future town centre regeneration schemes and that eligibility was based on population figures. The Regeneration Manager undertook to follow-up with colleagues from Department for Communities to receive an update on the matter and present a further report to a future Committee for information.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that Officers were engaging with DAERA regarding the possibility of the scheme being extended through rural development funding and to secure funding for a similar scheme in Castlederg.  She explained that the DAERA funding was set at 50% for traders which was less favourable compared to the funding from Department for Communities which was set at 90%.  She nundertook to raise this issue with the relevant government department, if Members so wished.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       (a) that Members note the content of the report and grant authority for Officers to appoint the preferred design team, following the outcome of the ongoing competitive procurement process; and

 

(b) that further reports will be brought co

Committee to keep Members updated on Phase

I and any update on funding for Phase II and

the ongoing development of both revitalisation

schemes.

 

 

ER44/19

Budget Virement- Tree Management System pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to approve a budget virement to allocate funds for the Tree Manager Cost Code to IT to purchase Tree Management Software.

 

In response to concerns expressed by Councillor Duffy at the cost involved, the Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that Officers had researched numerous systems and this proved to be the most cost effective.  In regards to health and safety issues she assured that protocols had been developed in respect of severe weather.  A specific protocol had also been drafted in regards to wind and guidelines in respect of the closure of parks and open spaces with particular emphasis on trees.  She continued that this was currently being finalised and would be presented to a future Meeting of Committee for Members’ information.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that Council transfer £15,000 from the Tree Management Cost Code to purchase the IT software for the Tree Management System as outlined above.

 

 

ER45/19

Building Control Applications pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Capital Development and Building Control presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He pointed out that the purpose of the report was to advise Members of applications processed under Building Regulations (NI) between 1 December and 31 December 2019.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

 

ER46/19

Proposed Provision and Revocation of Disabled Parking Bays Across the District pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She pointed out that the purpose of the report was to advise Members of correspondence3 received in December 2019 from DfI Network Development Section regarding proposed disabled parking bay at Churchtown, Castlederg and revocation of a disabled parking bay at Mountjoy Street, Derry.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

 

ER47/19

Eglinton Village Green Play Area pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members on the Eglinton Village Green and in particular repairs to the play area following a vandalism attack.

 

Alderman McCready welcomed the above report.  He expressed concern at the lack of progress in regards to the remediation of the Park since the arson attack which took place on 13 January 2019.  He enquired if this experience and the lessons arising therefrom would inform a wider strategy in terms of future play park development.  He sought assurances that any possible redevelopment of the Park would not impact upon remediation works.  He queried the existing time frame in respect of the remediation works.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration assured that Officers would take on board the lessons learnt and the feedback received from the public in regards to specific equipment requested and the issue of anti-social behaviour.  She acknowledged the considerable timeframe involved in the remediation of the Park since the arson attack but pointed out that unfortunately this was necessary to facilitate the necessary engagement with the Insurance Company and PSNI.  She pointed out that efforts had been made to engage with members of the public regarding their suggestions for the Park and to address these options and to source additional funding in respect thereof.  She referred to a possible funding opportunity which could arise and in respect of which Council would be advised at the end of February.  This funding, if made available, would allow for additional redevelopment of the Park.  However, if the funding was not forthcoming Council would proceed to appoint a Contractor to carry out the reinstallation works without delay.  She suggested providing Members with a further update at the March Meeting of Committee when a decision had been issued regarding the possibility of funding being secured. 

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that Council Officers had prepared a programme of works but Officers felt it would be useful to investigate this opportunity for further development of the Park and if an opportunity did arise to carry out a more comprehensive scheme.  She acknowledged frustrations expressed by members of the public at the timeframe involved. 

 

In response to concerns expressed by Alderman McCready, the Head of Environment advised that there were two possibilities in regards to the refurbishment of the Park depending on funding.  He pointed out that if an application for funding in respect of the redevelopment of the Park was approved this would include the replacement of the single item.  However, this would mean that the Park would not be available until all of the redevelopment works were completed.  This would also prove more positive in terms of successfully addressing all of the issues surrounding the Park.

 

Councillor Ferguson referred to concerns expressed by local residents at the timeframe involved and welcomed a further report updating Members on the situation.

 

Alderman McCready requested that  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER47/19

ER48/19

NIEA Update Re: River Faughan Anglers pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members on correspondence received from Northern Ireland Environment Agency following a request from Environment and Regeneration Committee.

 

Members noted the content of the Report.

 

ER49/19

Update on the PEACE IV Riverine Environmental Project pdf icon PDF 344 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Environment presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to inform Members of the Riverine Environmental Project as part of the implementation of the Peace IV Local Action Plan and advise as to the results of a recent procurement exercise.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

 

 

ER50/19

St Columb's Park - Play Area pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members on repairs to equipment at the St Columb’s Park Play Area.

 

Members noted the content of the report

 

 

ER51/19

Mobuoy Road Update pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Environment presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members with regard to monthly updates from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) on the Mobuoy illegal dump site.

 

The Chairperson said he felt it was necessary that Members put on record their disappointment at the Minister’s decision not to hold a Public Inquiry into the situation at Mobuoy Road given that it had been agreed that this was the best way to address this issue.   He pointed out that at the Special Meeting held on 20 January, Members had been advised by representatives from DAERA that they would endeavour to have a Public Inquiry carried out, however, within days of that Meeting a decision was issued by the Minister indicating that he would not agree to such an Inquiry.  He referred to a decision at the January Council Meeting that a letter be sent to the Minister outlining Council’s concerns at his response.

 

Councillor McCann described the Minister’s hasty response not to hold a Public Inquiry as more than disappointing.  He expressed concern that given the hastiness of the response it would not have been possible to examine the proposals put forward in any detail showing a total lack of respect to Council and all those who had campaigned on this issue.

 

Councillor McCann referred to the forthcoming stakeholder event when the matter could be discussed further.  He also referred to flooding which had occurred the previous weekend at Ardlough Road which was located near the Mobuoy Road and which reminded one of the vulnerability of this area in regards to flooding.  Everyone was aware of the changing and unpredictable weather conditions which could not be controlled.  He referred to a discussion which had taken place at the January Council Meeting regarding alleged correspondence between Dean Blackwood from The River Faughan Anglers and the Department over a number of years which the Department had recently indicated they did not have any knowledge of.  He said he had requested Mr Blackwood to provide proof of any such correspondence in order that the matter could be addressed with the Department.  It would be a matter of great concern if such proof were produced.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration pointed out that following the January Council Meeting, a letter had been sent to the Minister expressing Members’ frustrations regarding his decision not to hold a Public Inquiry into the Mobuoy Road site and to invite the Minister to meet with Members to discuss the matter to which a response had not yet been received.

 

In regards to the issue of correspondence between The River Faughan Anglers and NIEA, the Director of Environment and Regeneration referred to correspondence received from the Agency indicating that they were unaware of any such correspondence from the Faughan Anglers regarding the Mobuoy site having disappeared and if there were  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER51/19