If the new facilities were developed in Dungiven, it would reduce revenue (annual year on year) costs by £70,000 for the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council. That is £70,000 saved each year, largely due to energy efficiencies found in new construction methods. To put it in context. That is £70,000 per year over the lifetime of the centre, taken at an average 40 years. That equates to £2.8million saving for the rate payer in the district – less the £350,000 initial capital investment. I can not stress this enough.
What is holding back Dungiven is equally holding back development in Cushendall, the Glens, Ballycastle and Loughgiel. Each an area of historical inequality and underinvestment.
The reality for the new government authority is plain. If they wish to invest to enhance community and sporting facilities, they are obliged to do so in Nationalist and Republican areas where that historic inequality will require a generation of investment to balance out with those Councils who delivered for one section of the community. The stats are backed up by countless workshops and research done within and outwith the Council.
For the Glens Ward (Rathlin Ballycastle Loughgiel Waterfoot Cushendun Cushendall) inequalities to be addressed, it is vitally important that a common sense and business like approach is taken to Dungiven to release additional capital for the future. Other more unpalatable avenues are open to us as Councillors to raise funds should sectarianism continue to be the final arbitrator.
I was pleased to be asked to speak at the debate on Dungiven sports facilities last night in the County Derry town.
At the public meeting, those Unionists opposed to investing in Dungiven give no logically compelling, deeply informed or rational reason for blocking a perfectly sensible business case. That speaks for itself.