A Sinn Féin councillor says that we need to explore alternatives to bonfires after it cost the local Causeway Coast and Glens Council over £17,000 to clean up after bonfires this year.
Councillor Dermot Nicholl said: ““The cost to the local Council of over £17,000 to clean up bonfires is unsustainable especially at a time when we are faced with austerity cuts so it is crucial we work at finding alternatives.
““This cost does not include fires lit on Housing Executive property so the total cost will be a lot more as all fires in Coleraine area were on their property.”
Councillor Nicholl said the matter affected both religious traditions: “While I recognise that there are traditions in both communities of lighting bonfires we cannot afford to throw good money after bad in maintaining the status quo of wasting money in clean ups.
“It is important that we now get together to devise policies that will either limit the number and size of bonfires or create alternatives such as beacons which don’t do as much damage either financially or environmentally.
“I am calling on all parties to come together with council officials so that we can devise strategies that will communities to celebrate their culture without having a detrimental impact on council budgets.”