Preparing for ‘the big snow’

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Causeway Coast and Glens Council is to go into partnership with Transport NI to keep town centre footpaths and pedestrian area clear of snow and ice during prolonged periods of severe weather.

Members of the Environmental Services Committee agreed this at Tuesday’s meeting when Director Aidan McPeak explained details of the arrangement.

Mr McPeak added that Council will have an input into details such as who makes the call to send extra resources out, what locations are to be covered, call out arrangements etc

Cllr Kieran Mulholland asked would villages such as Loughguile be cleared if there was another bout of severe weather.

Mr McPeak explained that the priority was the areas with highest footfall which would mean larger town centres and pedestrian areas.

Cllr Sandra Hunter said that the previous Moyle Council “had a great system” in place for severe weather.

Cllr Brenda Chivers said that during the last bad spell of weather she had received many complaints from Dungiven business people who were upset that Limavady had been tackled but not Dungiven.

“We all pay our rates,” she said, adding that she had lived in Canada for 14 years and when there was a major snowfall, everyone was responsible for clearing their own paths. If this was not done satisfactorily, a charge was imposed on their rates.

Cllr Margaret Anne McKillop said that the Glens had been hit particularly badly during the ‘big snow’ but added that the system works “when all the statutory bodies come together”.

She said that she understood that the larger towns had to be prioritised.

However, Cllr Tony McCaul said that ignoring smaller towns and villages was “discriminating against rural dwellers”.

He said that smaller towns were not cleared but “if you live in the towns, it’s all done for you.”

The proposal to enter into partnership was agreed.