Ballymoney is set to gain a ‘signature event’ to attract tourists as part of a new strategy for the Causeway Coast and Glens council area.
Councillors Ian Stevenson, Alan McLean and Daryl Wilson expressed disappointment that an event such as the former ‘Mayor’s Show’ in Ballymoney were not included on a schedule of tourism events organised by or supported by the council.
The Ballymoney councillors raised their concerns during a debate over the council’s ‘tourism and recreation event management’ strategy at the Causeway Coast and Glens council, with the result that the council will now work on a ‘signature event’ for the Ballymoney area.
Council official Peter Thompson outlined a proposed strategy for the coming year. “We will use our events as a platform to sell the area as a great events destination and to provide a profile of the area as a great place to come and visit or stay on holidays.”
Mr Thompson explained that, as well as the events already due to gain funding or support from the council, smaller and new events may gain support.
Cllr McLean: “I just noticed that, due to the changeover, Ballymoney didn’t get its annual show. I see no mention of that type of event in the list of council’s own events. I was just wondering if we could consider something like that again?” Mr Thompson responded: “At the moment we are trying to prioritise events that we can deliver within the resources that we have within our very small events team but it is certainly something that we will look at.”
Cllr McLean continued: “I know it was a very successful event and, certainly the last one I attended was a very well attended event.”
Stevenson: “I do appreciate the resource that we have being limited. In Ballymoney we did not have an events programme. Prior to the council ending we did increase our events budget in anticipation that the new council would carry that forward.”
Cllr Stevenson proposed that if an event was included for Ballymoney the strategy laid out by Mr Thompson should be adopted.
The council official responded: “As far as Ballymoney is concerned we will not be doing an event because an area needs it, or rather because an area should have it, but because it fits best with that area. We recognise the need for geographical spread for events, subject to those events being the right fit for that area.”
Cllr Stevenson said: “We are able to put other events down on this list and I don’t see any reason why we can’t put an event for Ballymoney down on this list.” The tourism events strategy was approved by councillors with the proviso that a ‘signature event’ is delivered for Ballymoney.