1 - Economic Development and Planning Policy

Minutes of Strategic Policy Committee 1 (Economic Development & Planning Policy) of Sligo County Council held at 2.30pm on Thursday, 2nd October, 2008 in the Training Room, Riverside, Sligo.


MEMBERS PRESENT:

  • Councillor Tony McLoughlin ,
  • Councillor Seamus Kilgannon,
  • Councillor Patsy Barry,
  • Councillor Sean McManus ,
  • Councillor Deirdre Healy McGowan,
  • Gerry Healy, 

OFFICIALS PRESENT:     

  • Declan Breen, Director of Services
  • Paula R Gallagher,  
  • Janet McNamara, Administrative Officer
  • Mihaela Davidescu, Acting Senior Executive Planner

APOLOGIES: 

  • Councillor Aidan Colleary,
  • Councillor Jude Devins,
  • Niamh O’Driscoll,
  • Michael Keenan, 
  • Siobhan Ryan,
  • Rita McNulty

CHAIRPERSON:           

Cathaoirleach Councillor Tony McLoughlin presided.


1)   TO CONFIRM THE MINUTES OF SPC1 MEETING HELD ON 17TH JULY 2008

 Proposed:  Councillor Seamus Kilgannon
 Seconded:  Councillor Sean Mc Manus
And agreed:  “that the minutes of the Strategic Policy Committee No.1 meeting held on 17th July, 2008 be confirmed”.


2)  MATTERS ARISING

 None

3)  PRESENTATION ON PROVISION OF BROADBAND IN SOUTH SLIGO BY FASTCOM BROADBAND

Mr. Cormac Monaghan informed the meeting that Fastcom Broadband was a local company established in Sligo in 2005 with the objective of providing affordable broadband to the North West. The service was first rolled out to customers in the Strandhill, Rosses Point and Ballisodare areas, as part of the County and Group Broadband Scheme. He stated that the system depends on ’line of sight’ so that the location of each transmitter in an elevated location is essential. He pointed out that the fact that it was a transmitted system meant that it does not distinguish between towns, villages or rural areas and is available to all equally.  He indicated that Fastcom have gradually extended their coverage in the county and is now available in throughout most areas of the county. He stressed that in keeping with the County Development Plan, Fastcom have co-located their transmitters onto existing mast structures i.e. Cairns Hill, Truskmore, Coolaney, Dromore West and Easkey. He stated that Sligo County Council, in keeping with their stated aim in the  County Development Plan of promoting the availability of broadband in the county, have made two of their existing structures in the west of the county available to Fastcom. Mr. Monaghan expressed appreciation to Councillor Mary Barrett and Mr. Declan Breen of Sligo County Council for their help in making these Council structures available to Fastcom.

Mr Monaghan outlined the benefits of Broadband and indicated that it was essential for business and was one of the biggest needs in economic terms. It would facilitate the ever increasing number of people working from home. He stated that it is essential in the knowledge economy and of immense benefit to students at all levels.

He stated that Fastcom were anxious to extend coverage to the southern part of County Sligo, and to this end they had identified a site on Keash Hill as the most suitable location to locate a mini transmitter. This would afford coverage to the local community in an area from Keash to Gurteen and across towards Bunnanaddan and Lavagh and all areas in between. Effectively it would afford coverage to everyone within a 15 km distance who had a “line of site” to Keash Hill.

He stated that the transmitter would not appear obtrusive on the landscape as it essentially consisted of a 10 foot tall, 2” galvanised pole with a transmitter on it. The transmitter measured approximately 18” X 7”.

Councillor Deirdre Healy Mc Gowan stated that she was delighted to have been involved in the roll out of the County and Group Broad Band Scheme for Strandhill, Ballisodare and Rosses Point and that a local company Fastcom Broadband had been instrumental in providing the service. She said that she assumed that the same need for Broadband existed in South Sligo, to attract investors into the area. Councillor Seamus Kilgannon indicated that Broadband was a necessity for people, whose preference it was to reside in a rural area, to have Broadband facilities in their houses. He queried if the facility was available in Drumcliffe and Rathcormac.

Mr .Monaghan confirmed that their service was available in virtually all areas in North Sligo from Rathcormac to Maugherow, Ballinfull, Grange, Cliffoney, Mullaghmore, and all areas in between. He mentioned that they had recently established a mini transmitter to cover Glencar valley which had been a “black spot” in terms of Broadband coverage.

In a response to a query from Councillor Patsy Barry, Mr. Monaghan confirmed that there is another “black spot” in the Ballintrillick area, with Benwiskin blocking off the “line of sight” to some areas.

Councillor Sean Mc Manus stressed the need for Broadband throughout the county and complimented Fastcom on the work they are doing. He then queried if the company required a site from the County Council. Mr Monaghan informed the members that the availability of suitable sites in South Sligo is limited and Keash Hill was the most suitable site.

Mr. Breen emphasised the importance of trying to facilitate the people of south Sligo.

In relation to the visual impact, Mr. Monaghan advised the members that as stated earlier, the whole structure was actually very small and that the nearest road is approximately 1km away from where the equipment would be located.

Councillor Barry stated that since SPC 1 was a policy making body it was necessary to get the support of the Committee. It was unanimously agreed by the members that the site selected by Fastcom on Keash Hill should be the location for the provision of the facility.

Mr. Carty referred to the Department of Communications web site which illustrates the availability of Broadband nationally and queried if similar information was available by Fastcom which would illustrate the areas of the county where the facility was not available.
Mr. Connor Tuomey confirmed that the two areas of the county that do not have Broadband were South of Ballymote and the East of the County from Castlebaldwin to Geevagh.

On behalf of Fastcom Broadband Mr Monaghan thanked the Chairman Councillor Tony McLoughlin and the members of SPC 1 and Director Declan Breen for affording their time.

Councillor Tony McLoughin, on behalf of the committee, thanked both Mr. Cormac Monaghan and Mr. Connor Tuomey, for their very informative presentation.

 
4)  UPDATE ON DEVELOPMENT PLANNING

Ms. Mihaela Davidescu informed the members of the up to date position regarding the various plans (copy of report was circulated to members prior to meeting).

In discussing the review of the Sligo and Environs Development Plan Mr. Breen indicated that the Plan has to be timed correctly. It was agreed by the members that the adoption of the SEDP or the amendments to the Draft should be deferred until 9th July, 2009, as it was considered appropriate that this matter would be considered by the new council following the election in June 2009.

It was proposed that a date be set, at the November monthly meeting, for a special meeting to be held in November, to discuss the Draft SEDP

Proposed by Councillor Sean Mc Manus                 
Seconded by Councillor Seamus Kilgannon

Burial Ground Policy Amendments

– to reflect National Monuments (Amendment) Act 2004

Mr Michael Carty informed the members of the changes required to Council Policy arising from the transportation of the legislation into policy.  He stated that anyone wishing to carry out work on a site or monument listed in the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) is obliged to notify the National Monuments Service of such a proposal and work may not be initiated within two months of the date of notification, without Department approval.

Where an RMP is in the ownership of a local Authority ministerial consent is now required to carry out works in relation to such a monument. He informed the members that it is an offence to interfere with a National monument in the ownership or guardianship of the Minister or Local Authority, unless consent is granted.

He stated that 48 of the 64 Burial grounds under the control of Sligo County Council are designated as National monuments, therefore all persons and /or groups including Burial Ground Committees must consult with  Sligo County Council prior to  carrying out any works, including site suitability/exploratory trial holes. He stated that Sligo County Council will follow appropriate procedures when applying for Ministerial consent under the Act. He indicated that works to grounds involving archaeological assessments will place significant increased financial burden on the Local Authority and the extension of each burial ground will be considered on a case by case basis. Mr. Carty informed the members that in the case of old burial grounds, the area outside the burial ground wall can be even more important archaeologically than the area within. Mr. Declan Breen stated that it may be necessary to examine the acquisition of a new green field site when considering extending a burial ground. Following further discussions on the matter it was proposed that the Burial Ground Policy 2006-2010 be adopted.

Proposed by Councillor Patsy Barry        
Seconded by Councillor Sean Mc Manus.


Harbour Update 

In discussing the update on the Harbour Ms Paula Gallagher informed the members that provision of the Western By-Pass and the Western Distributor Route is very important for future development of the Harbour. She confirmed that installation work on the floating pontoons is nearing completion.  Sligo County Council needs work done by the ESB in order to progress the electrical connections which are required to control access. The members discussed the proposed Berthing Charges which are to be implemented (a schedule of comparable charges at six other locations was circulated).

It was proposed by Councillor Seamus Kilgannon and seconded by Councillor Patsy Barry

 that the recommended Berthing Charges (per Meter) of €30 monthly , €8.00 weekly and €1.30 daily be approved and implemented.  A 2 hours maximum stay at pontoon for embarking or disembarking of passengers from vessels or small boats.  Commercial vessels to pay an annual fee.

 Ms. Gallagher informed the meeting that it was also proposed to revise the Harbour Shipping Charges to bring them in line with other Harbours, (comparable harbour rates were circulated ) She indicated that the rates had not changed in twenty years and that they needed to be revised to bring them up to date.  Mr. Declan Breen confirmed that Mr. Declan Caslin, Manager at Bord na Mona, when informed at the Harbour Advisory Group Meeting, did not express any difficulty with the proposed Revised Rates. Ms Gallagher advised that Sligo County Council has instigated legal proceedings in order to collect some outstanding debts.

It was proposed by Councillor Patsy Barry and seconded by Sean Mc Manus that the recommended revised Sligo Harbour Rates as set out hereunder be adopted.


Sligo Harbour Shipping Charges
Item From  To
Solid Fuel   €0.44 €1.54
Wood (All Kinds) 0.76 1.64
Fertilizers  0.76 1.78
Scrap  0.80 0.90
Clean Recyclable Garbage  0.76 1.58
Sand/Stone  0.25 0.45
Empty Containers, Flats  1.90 3.16
Wood Pellets  0.44 0.70
Oil and Extracts of Animals  0.76 1.74
Animal Feeding Stuffs    - 1.82

Ms Gallagher informed the meeting that it is necessary to commence the process of carrying out Capital Dredging for the long term development of the Harbour, subject to the availability of finance. Councillor Sean Mc Manus stated that it was also critical that warehousing be provided.

It was unanimously agreed that the Council should hold an official opening to mark the completion of the Floating Pontoon and the other Harbour Remedial works and to issue a Press Release .Councillor Deirdre Healy McGowan stated that the local fishermen should be invited as they were involved in the clean up. Councillor Sean Mc Manus suggested that the members of Sligo Borough Council be invited
.
Councillor Tony Mc Loughlin acknowledged the contribution made by Ms. Paula Gallagher with regard to the Harbour.

5) ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Having regard to the property owned and leased by CIE in Sligo and the Harbour area, it was proposed that CIE be invited to attend an SPC Meeting to outline their plans for the future.

Proposed by: Sean McManus 
Seconded by: Seamus Kilgannon


Meeting Date 02/10/2008