Approval was given at Causeway Coast and Glens Council on Tuesday night to award the tender for the Cushendall Vistor information services to the Glens of Antrim Historical Society.
However, the approval created some debate within the chamber when DUP Cllr George Duddy requested more insight into the £20,000 spend on the centre.
Following a presentation from Tourism Manager, Peter Thompson, Cllr Duddy said: “I expected a more indepth report. There were questions around the staffing costs, the rental of the building, I thought we might have had an insight into the footfall. We have no information with regards to that and yet we are going to approve a £20,000 spend.”
Independent Cllr Padraig McShane commented: “I would like to know why this particular tender is being interrogated so heavily, is it because of its geographical location?
“It seems there is such an undercurrent in this chamber and it’s not good and it’s not going to be good in the future. There’s a real issue in this chamber. We are talking about a 20 grand spend and we have interrogated this issue for 40 minutes at the last meeting and we are doing the same again.
“They have proved their worth over a lifetime to Moyle District Council, they have proved their worth today, it’s not their fault that no one else chose to tender and we should remember we are talking about a 20 grand spend - two wages, and this council simply could not deliver that.”
Sinn Fein Cllr Cara McShane said: “I welcome the exposure of the fantastic service we have in the Glens and the majortity of the councillors here would not be aware that that service exists. I think it also exposes the value for money this council is getting. Tourism is one of our main priortities and given the lack of investment in the Glens historically, we will hopefully see commense sense and see a positive spin off.
“It’s about the welcome visitors get and the service they get, not just fancy bricks and mortar and some councillors would do well to remember that.”