Venue: Great Hall
Contact: Mr Henry Downey, Democratic Services Officer 028 9027 0550
Apologies were reported on behalf of Councillors McAllister and McDonough-Brown.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were reported.
The Committee was advised that, in accordance with Standing Order 37a - Duties of Committees: Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, it had full delegated authority to take decisions in relation to bonfire-related issues.
The Committee agreed, in accordance with the Council’s Bonfire Governance Arrangements, that, given the sensitive nature of the business to be discussed, the Press and the public be excluded from the meeting.
(Report to follow/to be tabled)
The Committee was provided with an update on the current status of a number of bonfire sites across the City, following which it was presented with a report setting out a number of issues for consideration.
Clonduff Bonfire Site
The Director of Neighbourhood Services reported that a Council officer had received a request on behalf of Clonduff Residents’ Association to level a small piece of land in the centre of a green area upon which a bonfire was built each year. The land, which was located between two 3G pitches, had been landscaped as part of the overall development of the Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre site. The person who had made the request had pointed out that the work would allow the bonfire to be constructed in a more stable way, thereby improving safety and further developing the goodwill between the Council and the local community.
Council officers had reminded the person that, despite the size of the bonfire having been reduced in recent years, bonfire builders had, in 2020, found it necessary to erect wooden boards along the side of the 3G pitches to prevent heat damage. It had been established that they intended to put the same mitigation measures in place this year.
After discussion, the Committee agreed, given the limited timeframe between now and July, that Council officers enter into discussions with the Residents’ Association:
i. to ensure that mitigation measures would be put in place and that those would protect Council property; and
ii. to assess the potential benefit to be derived in future years from levelling the land and the cost which would be incurred.
Provision of Bonfire Beacons
The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Members that beacons were a key element of the Council’s Bonfire and Cultural Expression Programme. In 2019, the Council had provided a beacon for sixteen sites, three of which were on its land, six on Department for Infrastructure land, five on Northern Ireland Housing Executive land and two on land under private ownership.
He reported that, due to the Covid-19 restrictions in place in 2020, the beacon programme had not been rolled out and reminded the Committee that, at its meeting on 19th March, it had agreed that those groups which had, in 2019, been provided with a beacon be requested, through an expression of interest exercise, to indicate if they would require one for this year. He pointed out that all requests for beacons must be made by a properly constituted community group and that it would assume responsibility for the beacon and for complying with the associated terms and conditions.
He explained that Council officers had since contacted all sixteen groups and that the following seven groups had responded positively: