Portrush matters to us

David Alexander, Sharman Knox-Finlay, Sheila Elliot and Jim Kane at the 'Portrush Matters' meeting held in Portrush Town Hall last week. INCR13 NF
David Alexander, Sharman Knox-Finlay, Sheila Elliot and Jim Kane at the 'Portrush Matters' meeting held in Portrush Town Hall last week. INCR13 NF

Portrush residents put their views across at a public meeting held in the Town Hall last Wednesday night.

Set up following posts on the social media page ‘Causeway Matters’, residents were invited to air their views on issues including the future use of the Dunluce Centre, the possible closure of Waterworld and legacy projects from The Open in 2019.

Councillors Maura Hickey, Trevor Clarke and Mark Fielding were in attendance, alongside around 40 residents.

As a result of the meeting, a group has now been established, ‘Portrush Matters’ to make a representation to Counci and MLA’s regarding the future of Portrush.

The group hopes to create a legacy for the community and local businesses before, during and after The Open Championships in 2019

Ideas put forward included a multi sport centre at the Dunluce Centre including an indoor wet play facility, multi sport facility with outdoor pitches.

Another idea included an outdoor skate park and 3g pitches.

Speaking about the Dunluce Centre, one resident said: “This site is in a key location, and it has the potential to benefit the town both for residents and for tourists.”

Many raised concerns about both the Waterworld and the Dunluce Centre sites being sold off by Council: “We need a wet weather facility for both the community and the visitors,” said one woman. “And something that is open 52 weeks of the year.”

DUP councillor Trevor Clarke told the meeting that a ‘vision for the future’ was needed for the seaside town.

Another resident described the town as ‘run down’ and urged the elected representatives to work with the community to ‘protect’ the town from developers.

SDLP Alderman Maura Hickey pressed the point that everything costs money: ‘we have to manage expectations’, she said.

“We will listen,” she said, “and then we can report back to Council on what the community wants,” said the SDLP woman.