Belfast Telegraph

Battle to save Exploris Aquarium almost over as funding deal is agreed by councils

By Colin Francis

The battle to save Exploris Aquarium is almost over after Ards Borough Council formally agreed to accept a Stormont funding offer.

The council voted to accept the offer of £914,000 capital funding and up to £120,000 in annual revenue funding for the aquarium in Portaferry.

This decision is conditional upon gaining the necessary approval from the new North Down and Ards District super-council that will replace the current local authority.

Ards Mayor Philip Smith said: “I am delighted that it looks like the Exploris facility will be saved, while reducing the financial burden on the Ards ratepayer.

“Having agreed to formally accept the Executive's offer of funding, Ards Borough Council now urges the new North Down and Ards District Council to meet promptly to discuss and support this decision and keep the aquarium open.”

Under a plan prepared by the council, the funding will make the facility sustainable by reducing its running costs from £500,000 each year to around £200,000.

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