The Leisure and Development Committee of Causeway Coast and Glens Council have deferred a decision on a proposal to transfer the Glenariff Forest Park Touring Caravan site to the Council.
The Caravan Park is a new-build on a site formerly used as a secondary or relief car park by Forest Service in Glenariff Forest, situated close to the main amenities buildings in the Forest Park.
Work commenced at the end of 2014 and is due for completion by the end of this month.
The Caravan Park will offer the only “in-forest” overnight facility in the two counties under the responsibility of Causeway Coast and Glens Council, with the intention of becoming a “5-star” caravan park.
Members of the Leisure and Development Committee were told that Glenariff Forest Park is currently a recognised visitor hub, but its unique selling point is its potential to develop into a primary centre for outdoor recreation in the province.
“The site will initially open from Easter to the end of October each year and has capacity for 35 touring caravans or campervans,” members heard.
“The site has been prepared for the installation of camping pods or cabins, although these have not been purchased. Camping will remain the
responsibility of Forest Service at its campsite for this year only.
“It is recommended that Council enter into the Licence Agreement with Forest Service in order to operate the Glenariff Forest Park Touring Caravan Park Site from Easter 2016.
DUP Councillor Trevor Clarke commented: “We need more time to put more meat on the bones with the financials of this project and to give members the opportunity to go and see this facility first hand and so I propose we defer it to full council.”
Richard Baker, Director of Leisure and Development suggested that he would organise a visit to the site for the committee.
The proposal to defer was seconded by Sinn Fein Councillor Kieran Mulholland and agreed by the committee.
UPDATE ON DERVOCK
Council’s Head of Sport and Wellbeing Wendy McCullough updated members of the Leisure and Development Committee with information on development of a new Community Centre in the village of Dervock and upgrading of the existing football pitches.
During a site visit in January, committee members were given information on work carried out by Council Officers to engage with the local community groups and football team to resolve any outstanding issues and develop capacity within the community to take ownership of the building and facilitate use of the hall by the residents of Dervock and the surrounding area.
Officers continue to work on the project, meetings with the community are on-going and bookings in the hall are increasing. Officers are also in discussion with the William Pinkerton Memorial Primary School about access to the hall during the week to provide additional space for the children when activities cannot be accommodated in the School.
Progress is also being made to increase the size of one of the football pitches to what might be comparable with other pitches in the Borough.
Any final decision on the second pitch and floodlights is pending the outcome of negotiations with school governors and the Education Board regarding the top pitch.