Former Lord Mayor says we need substance behind the spin of new city centre makeover

Former Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alliance Councillor Tom Ekin has said that the new 16 million pound makeover project for Belfast city centre must have substance behind its spin. He welcomed the funding package announced by Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie, but he said that she must ensure the project is completed quickly so that the city and its citizens can reap the benefits as soon as possible.

The Balmoral Councillor said: “This project must not simply be an eye-catching announcement – this project must deliver real improvements and must benefit the public and attract new tourism.

“There must be substance behind the spin from the Department of Social Development.

“This project must deliver visible results as quickly as possible and there must be no stalling on the completion of this work. We have heard it may take until 2009 for work to be complete – this would seem like an excessively long period of time for such work to be done.

“There are also priorities such as regenerating areas like the Village area of South Belfast, which I hope after the Minister’s delay in tackling, she will now address with real urgency.

“There must be a fair balance struck as regards the use of public funds between so that the housing needs of local people are met and effective city centre shared space investment can occur.


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