Zone will be ‘a game changer’

Candidates at the CRUN Building for the Causeway Chamber of Commerce Election debate with from l-r Russell Watton PUP, William McCandless UUP, Chamber President Ian Donaghey, Gerry Mullan SDLP and Adrian McQuillan DUP.   09 Pre Election Debate
Candidates at the CRUN Building for the Causeway Chamber of Commerce Election debate with from l-r Russell Watton PUP, William McCandless UUP, Chamber President Ian Donaghey, Gerry Mullan SDLP and Adrian McQuillan DUP. 09 Pre Election Debate
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DUP candidate Adrian McQuillan says he believes the Enterprise Zone, due to be signed off later this month, will be a ‘game changer’ for the area.

Seven election candidates were asked about the zone, which is the first in Northern Ireland, at Friday’s debate.

Lisa McDowell and John Sproule of JL Windows at the CRUN Building for the Causeway Chamber of Commerce Pre-Election debate.   02 Pre Election Debate

Lisa McDowell and John Sproule of JL Windows at the CRUN Building for the Causeway Chamber of Commerce Pre-Election debate. 02 Pre Election Debate

DUP candidate McQuillan told the audience that ‘through time’ the zone would bring jobs, and that the 12.5 percent cooperation tax incentive would encourage business into the area.

Sinn Fein’s Archibald said she supported the zone: “The site is there and the legislation is there to encourage development, “she said. “The outlook is good for this area.”

David Harding, of the NI Conservatives paid tribute to Arlene Foster for her efforts in securing contracts for the zone in Coleraine, but he highlighted the time it had taken to get things moving. He pointed out that other parts of the Province had wanted the enterprise zone. “There will be very few jobs at the start, but it’s opening up a whole new world.” He said that the zone would ‘drive this area forward’, and that he was ‘optimistic’ about the future.

William McCandless of the UUP said his party supported the zone and said he felt that it would ‘bring employment’ to the area.

Alliance candidate, Boyle said that the zone, which will employ just ten people to start with, will be a ‘slow starter’, but she said: “It is the future.”

Independent candidate Claire Sugden said that the zone was ‘not just about data: “We need to be creative about this,” she urged. “We have the enterprise zone, reduction in cooperation tax and Project Kelvin, we need to sell this to the world.”