BEHIND THE SCENES

Alderman Maurice Bradley, Mayor of Coleraine, pictured with staff from the Coleraine Borough Council environmental services department at the NW200 Pitts. CR16-234PL
Alderman Maurice Bradley, Mayor of Coleraine, pictured with staff from the Coleraine Borough Council environmental services department at the NW200 Pitts. CR16-234PL

Partnership working is essential when organising events so Coleraine Borough Council works in tandem with outside agencies and volunteers to ensure one of Northern Ireland’s biggest events goes to plan … the North West 200.

Year on year the North West 200 (NW200) attracts thousands of visitors and it is estimated that the event contributes in the region of £8 million to the Northern Ireland economy.

The net additional value in terms of the impact based expenditure is £4.45m at the local area level, and £4.36million at the Northern Ireland level – stemming from the spectators economic contributions. Using Output Multipliers the impact on output for Northern Ireland as a whole is estimated to be £7.79million.

It is the one annual event in the Borough’s calendar that really does involve all of Council’s departments. There are many roles that Council staff undertake, including licensing and street trading, food safety, managing unauthorised camping and scaffolding, stewarding, tourism, signage and promotion, just to name a few.

A fresh tourist attraction has been designed by Council to raise the profile of the event and the Borough of Coleraine. A new sign was constructed by Council’s general works team at the Paddock area on the Ballyreagh Road outside Portstewart.

The sign states ‘Welcome to the Borough of Coleraine – Home of the NW200’ and it has been designed to entice visitors to stand first, second or third on the podium! Staff are immensely proud of the finished result and hope that everyone will come and have their photograph taken by the Portstewart coastline.

As part of the team’s responsibilities this season, they will also be supporting the Coleraine and District Motor Club in the maintenance of the course as well supporting the clean up of Portrush and Portstewart.

Work will continue throughout the coming weeks to set up grandstands, layout the course, and ensuring all the necessary health and safety measures are in place. Although preparation for this year’s event commenced in June 2011, this week sees all of those plans come to fruition, ensuring the Borough is ready for the Raceweek from 12th to 19th May 2012.

Council’s Environmental Health Officers will be out inspecting certification of all stands, marquees and hospitality areas, checking certification of gas and electricity, as well as ensuring that structures are safe. On the race day itself, this team of Council officers will be inspecting all mobile food establishments to ensure compliance with all food hygiene regulations and that they are ‘no smoking’ compliant.

In the lead up to the NW200, Council will be involved in checking suitable trading sites, liaising with licensees to ensure that registered door supervisors will be on the door of the venues at all times, and reminding them of fire and safety guidelines, ensuring the NW200 Race Week Event is a safe place to bring all the family.

Many staff will work throughout race week, which is then followed up by over 50 staff starting out on the ground at 5am Sunday morning for the big ‘clear up’. This will continue right through to the middle of the week, as the last visitors leave the Borough.

Council is also hosting the Race Week Festival ensuring that visitors enjoy a full programme of events and entertainment, complimenting the motorbike races. This is rounded off with a fabulous fireworks display on the Friday evening at the Crescent, Portstewart just before final race day on Saturday.

A big thank you goes out to the North West 200 Management Team, and to the many volunteers involved in this event. The full programme of events is available at; www.northcoastni.com and www.colerainebc.gov.uk. Information is also available on ColeraineBC Facebook and Twitter.