A message from our new Mayor
21 July 2010
New Mayor of Carrickfergus, Alderman Jim McClurg outlines his hopes for the Borough in the year ahead.
Alderman Jim McClurg was recently elected as the new Mayor of Carrickfergus. In the article below, Mayor McClurg outlines his intentions and aspirations for the year ahead.
"I feel that at the outset of my period as Mayor I should make absolutely clear my intention to work in the interest of all rate payers in Carrickfergus. I am tremendously honoured to have been elected, firstly, as Councillor and then, by Council, to Mayorship of the Borough. However, I am aware of the burden of responsibility which this brings as First Citizen and representative of the Borough.
The year past has seen the opening of refurbished leisure centre, now known as Carrickfergus Amphitheatre. The building has provided totally world class facilities for a fraction of the price of a similar new building. It joins the many similar excellent facilities offered by the council. I urge you to join in and make maximum use of these facilities.
In the coming year the council has a number of new schemes which it hopes to progress. Work has already begun on the Whitehead Masterplan which will identify long term aspirations for the town. Those with an interest should stand by to give their views! We are looking at the community provision in Eden. Marine Gardens will also be considered for improvement.
A project to consolidate Fishermans Quay, one of the listed monuments in the Borough, is about to get underway. I hope to see the major public realm improvements in Carrickfergus Town Centre started within the next year. This work will be under the control of our colleagues in Roads Service, but the Council has had a major input to its design. Whilst we were all sad to see the demise of the Methodist Church at the corner of West Street its impressive new incarnation has risen Phoenix-like from the rubble. The church occupies an important site in the town and I am hopeful that public realm improvement works will provide an even more impressive setting.
Now, in case anyone thinks that I am only looking at the positive issues, I am aware that some residents have to suffer problems associated with anti social – and worse- behaviour. Firstly, I urge those involved in this behaviour to put your energy into something more constructive. For those who fail to take the hint, I will ensure that officers of the council play their part, with the police and other agencies, in dealing with these issues. I want to see Carrickfergus as somewhere all our residents and visitors can enjoy – that means having respect and consideration for our neighbours and their property.
All in all there is much work going on - and all this in addition to the day to day business of building control, environmental health, parks, cleansing and so on. None the less we are all aware that we are living in straitened times. The Council has a duty to you, the rate payer, to ensure that it delivers its services in the most economic manner. I will be pressing the Chief Executive and officers of the Council to continually assess how the cost of services might be reduced.
The Council has been working assiduously, with those of Ballymena and Larne, as part of the preparation for the proposed merger and creation of the new Mid and East Antrim District Council. Many people will be aware that this plan has now been set aside. As I write this all local authorities await clear instruction on the future of local government. However, time does not stand still and until the guidance is issued I will be pressing officers of the council to continue the work already begun as part of the convergence process. Their objective now will be to identify savings which might be achieved by further collaboration with other councils and organisations.
I look forward to my period as Mayor with some trepidation but I am reassured that I can rely on the support of an experienced team of fellow councillors and officers. I expect to have a busy schedule during my period as Mayor and I look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible to the Town Hall
Please be assured of my very best wishes."
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