Alliance Councillor Michael Long has accused Castlereagh Council of dragging its heels on redeveloping the Robinson Centre, which was saved from premature closure by the unionist-controlled council in February after pressure from Alliance.
Councillor Long said he was concerned that a sub-committee – which Alliance was excluded from – to oversee the consultant procurement process has only been set up recently.
Cllr Long said: “Alliance believes that the Robinson Centre’s redevelopment must be completed as soon as possible, as there is great demand for improved facilities. Our message is clear with regards to the redevelopment – ‘get on with it’. It may be a leisure centre, but ratepayers don’t expect the councillors to get things done at their leisure.
“It is also essential that this process is conducted in an open and transparent manner so ratepayers are not kept in the dark about proposals and decisions taken by the Council, as was the case earlier this year.
“The issue of the exclusion is yet another example of discrimination and backward-looking politics from the Unionists on the Council. Using any system of proportionality, Alliance should obviously have been included upon the six-strong committee. Surely it is vital that all groups are represented on this committee?
“It is ironic that unionist councillors who proposed the centre’s closure will now serve on a committee to redevelop it, while Alliance councillors who helped keep the centre open are excluded. If unionists believe excluding Alliance will prevent us from keeping our ratepayers informed, I can promise them that their efforts will fail.”