BALLYCASTLE was the choice for a delegation of visitors from Down District Council who had heard about the excellent public realm works that have taken place in the town over the last number of years, and they just had to come and see it for themselves.
The visitors, which included Councillors from Ballynahinch, DSD, NIE, the Chamber of Commerce and senior Council staff were well impressed with what they saw and heard about how Ballycastle has been developing, and also it continue to be regenerated in the future by organisations such as the Council, the Town Partnership and private sector development.
The Chairman of Moyle District Council Paudie McShane and Chief Executive Richard Lewis welcomed the group as the first visitors to the new Marina Building, showing off the amazing views across to Rathlin Island and Fair Head.
The Chairman told the visitors that between 2009 and 2011 up to £1,000,000 pounds has been invested in the town by departments such as DSD, DRD and the Council, who has been working very closely with the Ballycastle Town Partnership to deliver projects such as the resurfacing of roads and footpaths, a new wall at Quay Road playing fields and the magnificent entrances that frame the gateway into Ballycastle.
Aidan McPeak the Council’s head of Technical Services, took the group on a tour of the extensive works that has been carried out at the seafront over the past two years with support from NITB and the Arts Council. Margaret Craig the Economic Development Officer reported on the work of the Town Partnership’s latest project – the upgrade of the Tow River path area and Town Trails that will complement the work at the seafront and the gateways.
The group most of whom had been to Ballycastle before, and a few reported to having been to Rathlin Island, said they could visibly see the difference in the town and the improvements that have been made. The materials used in the regeneration works were of particular interest to the group, especially the bespoke granite picnic benches and seating around the seafront and the Caithness stone used for the paving in both North Street and Ann Street, ideas they will take away and consider for their own regeneration work.
The visit to Ballycastle ended around lunch time and the group made their way to the Central Bar for lunch where Gemma and the team treated them extremely well, before sending them off on the next stage of their journey to Ballyclare.