Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Council is looking to open the floodgates to footpath

Ards Borough Council is set to look at ways of promoting the footpath along the Floodgates in Newtownards.

It follows a motion by Councillor Simon Hamilton who said the path could be “better branded, promoted and integrated with other walking and cycling routes in the area”.

He said: “The Ards area is blessed with many great attractions like Scrabo and Strangford Lough which attract people from far and wide.

“One way for local people and visitors alike to enjoy the beauty of our area is through walking and cycling and developing designated routes for walkers or cyclists can only enhance that experience.

“The footpath from the Floodgates in Newtownards along the shore of Strangford Lough offers people miles of some of the best views in Northern Ireland and wonderful wildlife as well.

“Since the existing footpath was extended, the path has proven to be extremely popular with people of all ages yet I suspect that few outside of Ards and many within it are blissfully unaware of its existence,” he added.

Councillor Hamilton said he was glad that the council had agreed to explore how this “magnificent resource” could be branded and promoted.

“Just look at the success the branding of the old Belfast to Comber railway as the Greenway has been in bringing people to Comber to enjoy what the town has to offer. I really believe that the Floodgates footpath has the same potential,” he said.

“In the long term, I would love to see the Floodgates footpath extended to Islandhill.

“The path is great as it is but imagine how amazing it would be if you could walk or cycle from Islandhill to Newtownards along the lough shore.

“Expanding and enhancing our tourism infrastructure is a key aspect of growing our local economy and I hope that this proposal to brand and promote the Floodgates footpath can contribute something to that effort of developing Ards’ tourism offering.”

Ards Borough Council was set to debate the motion on Wednesday (June 30) and if ratified a report will be carried out and presented before a development committee in due course.

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