No certainty on Portavoe's future
Portavoe Reservoir's future can only be guaranteed up to the end of the financial year, the minister for regional development has said.
In a bid to address concerns over the possible sale of the popular Donaghadee beauty spot, Department for Regional Development (DRD) minister Danny Kennedy MLA met with the mayors of North Down and Ards boroughs on September 4.
During discussions on the waterway's future, which is on land in both the North Down and Ards boroughs, Mr Kennedy assured them the reservoir will not be sold by owners NI Water during the current financial year but he could not guarantee the future of the reservoir beyond that.
Mayor of North Down Councillor Andrew Muir said the meeting "clarified" plans for Portavoe. He said people were legitimately concerned that the Reservoir would soon be sold, public access end and local people denied right to enjoy this wonderful environmental asset forever," he said.
"We were informed that whilst no plans exist to sell during the current financial year, no guarantees can be offered for future years and that first step would be to offer to other public bodies – including local councils – who will then have to make a formal decision whether to develop a business case to procure from NI Water or refuse the offer. Thereafter, if no public bodies are interested, it would move to sale via the open market."
He said it was "not ideal" and added: "At least the future is now clear and relevant bodies and people can prepare to engage and lobby NI Water and Department for Regional Development to ensure correct outcome".