Row over Limavady Arts Centre deepens

Former Mayor of Limavady Councillor Michael Carten with Mark Curruthers following the unveiling of the plaque at the official opening of the Roe Valley Arts Centre in March 2011.
Former Mayor of Limavady Councillor Michael Carten with Mark Curruthers following the unveiling of the plaque at the official opening of the Roe Valley Arts Centre in March 2011.
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A bitter row against renaming the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre has deepened, with close to 1,000 people supporting a petition against the move.

SDLP Councillor Gerry Mullan started the online petition after unionists on a Causeway Coast and Glens Council committee voted in favour of changing the building’s name to The Alexander Memorial Arts Centre.

Should the name change get the go ahead, Council has warned it will cost at least £12,000 to change signage alone.

One man who signed the petition said: “It’s an insult to us all. We don’t want it changed. We didn’t ask for it to change.”

A former Limavady Mayor, who officially opened the building with BBC broadcaster Mark Carruthers in March 2011, voiced his disgust at the move.

Michael Carten, a long time SDLP councillor, told the ‘Journal’ he was “very disappointed” and said the name of the Centre should not be changed.

“It’s a total waste of money,” claimed Mr Carten. “The people thinking up a new name should work harder to bring jobs to Limavady instead of sitting there arguing about this. It’s not fair on the staff who have worked hard. As a Mayor I was so proud to be there to open the Arts Centre. Trying to change the name now is such a waste of time and money. I am totally disgusted.”

Former Ulster Unionist Councillor, Jack Rankin, said he was against any name change. He believes the current name “is in keeping with the function of the building.”

Mr Rankin added: “I think that’s the general feeling among a lot of people.”

Colr. Callan failed respond to the ‘Journal’ for an interview at the time of going to Press.

The matter will be taken forward to a full Council meeting later this month where it will either be ratified or rejected.