Rasharkin club ‘will fly on’

Rasharkin Model Flying Club has promised they ‘will not be closing their doors’ even if the new wind farm cluster substation on the outskirts of the village goes ahead.

According to Gavin McKenna, the founder of the cross-community club, the location of the proposed substation, on land 300m west of 269 Finvoy Road, could result in the club not being able to get insurance from the British Model Flying Association (BMFA) and goes against aviation law.

However, following news that the proposal has been put back on Council’s Planning agenda by Cllr Cathal McLaughlin for this Wednesday, Mr McKenna said: “We are not going away. We have been here 13 years and I promise we will remain open.

“The flying club is an important cross-community group and is extremely valued by the 50/60 members and by Rasharkin itself.

“I have been speaking to the BMFA and we may be able to relocate the direction of the runaway or last resort find an alternative site.

“We have never been against the substation and have always want to come to a compromise. Hopefully this will provide a way forward and a future for the Club.”

Mr McKenna who would live 240m from the proposed substation has not only been concerned about his flying club, but also the health risks to his family and the devaluing of his property.

Mr McKenna has also called for an Environmental Impact Assessment to be carried out.

The application by the NIE has been extremely contentious since lodged and various meetings have been held by NIE officials including one with the local community and a presentation to Council.

There has also been a consultation process which has resulted in numerous concerns being addressed.

However, at the last Planning Council meeting in February, the application was deferred by councillors for a month, despite it being approved by the Planning Service.

Following the Office meeting with objectors, it is now believed that an ‘agreement’ has been made with the item table by Cllr Cathal McLaughlin stating: he ‘has advised that an agreement has been reached between the constituent he has been supporting and a third party, regarding the future of the flying club in Rasharkin.

‘This can give the planners the go ahead to grant permission for the project to go ahead.’