There has been strong reaction to news the Ulster Unionist Party in Limavady are to withdraw their motion to rename the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre.
Colr. Aaron Callan confirmed to the ‘Journal’ on Friday potential costs of the move to rename the centre The Alexander Memorial Arts Centre could reach as much as £30,000 and the motion would, therefore, be withdrawn.
Sinn Féin councillor Brenda Chivers welcomed the decision.
“I am glad Councillor Callan, and the others who backed his proposal, have responded to the outpouring of disbelief and anger from the local population who cannot understand the motives behind the attempted name change,” said Colr. Chivers.
“A quick look at social media shows the strength of feeling about this, and a petition has over 1,000 signatures calling for this proposal to be withdrawn.”
“There were many issues with this proposal such as the cost of rebranding and that very few people in the town actually know this man.
“Many people also viewed it as an attempt to eradicate the Irish translation of the name, Ionad Ealaíon agus Cultúir Ghleann na Ró, which is very petty.”
Colr. Chivers added: “I am, however, very wary that Colr. Callan has not ruled out returning to this issue in the future. If he does he will be met with the same level of opposition and critiscism.”
SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan started a petition against the name change and gathered hundreds of signatures.
Colr. Mullan said it was a case of “people power making its case and winning”.
“I think the UUP were wise to make this decision, and it means the staff at the Arts Centre can continue to deliver the sterling work and wonderful service they provide to the public,” said Colr. Mullan.
“I don’t think Colr. Callan had any other option but to withdraw the motion. I’m just glad common sense prevailed in the end.
“People from throughout the community were incensed by this, which was essentially a complete waste of ratepayers’ money. I think Colr. Callan had a ‘bloody nose’ over it.”
Reacting to the news on the ‘Journal’ Facebook page, a woman stated: “The people of Limavady didn’t want it.”
Colr. Callan said “we will be withdrawing the motion at this time to create the space to look at imaginative ways of reducing the costs and giving greater recognition to the Alexander name”.