THE council has been asked to bring back ‘much missed’ events such as Bangor’s Easter Parade, Donaghadee Lights Up and the Groomsport Music Festival.
Independent councillor Ray McKimm brought forward a notice of motion at the Place and Prosperity Committee last week calling for the local authority to ‘engage with communities and enhance the spirit of place’.
The notice of motion had been jointly submitted along with former councillor Tom Smith, who lost his seat at last month’s council election, and called for the council to bring back a report that looks at ‘the restoration of these much missed events’.
Said Mr McKimm: “As part of this report officers should engage and consult with local communities and business to gauge not only their support for the return of these events but also ask, if they do return, what could be done to improve events to allow for more community involvement and also to maximise footfall and trade for local business.”
The Bangor Central councillor also asked that council officers ‘look at external opportunities for funding these events or elements of this’ to ‘bring back these loved events’.
Backing the notice of motion, councillor Gillian McCollum said the events are part and parcel of bringing together small communities like Groomsport and Donaghadee.
“They do a lot to engender small communities and businesses and are really about bringing people together,” said Ms McCollum.
“I have no doubt that Groomsport Village Association and Discover Groomsport would be delighted to have the musical festival and Donaghadee Lights Up would be so welcomed as well.”
Peninsula councillor Robert Adair said he ‘looked forward’ to the report being brought back saying: “We have always been a borough of great events and if we can get more funding that would enable us to do more events.”
However, the Ulster Unionist Party’s Richard Smart said he was unable to support the notice of motion.
“With a very heavy heart I can’t support this despite the fact I know the ambition of councillor McKimm and the quality of these events that were so enjoyed by so many local people from right across the borough.
“But these are legacy events from the old councils and they were changed because of a council-wide review and strategy to try and focus on where we could make most gains from the investment either in bed nights or economic development.”
Mr Smart said he did not think that ‘starting to put these events back in’ was a good ‘whole borough approach’ and it was something that ‘needed a much wider approach’.
The notice of motion was carried by seven votes in favour, three against and one abstention. Each committee decision must be ratified at a full council meeting at the end of the month.