Waterside must benefit from Culture year - MLA

The meeting held in Clooney Hall on Thursday evening. (0212MM30)
The meeting held in Clooney Hall on Thursday evening. (0212MM30)

A strategic focus is needed to help Waterside traders benefit from the City of Culture events, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said.

Ms McLaughlin made the comment following a meeting held in Clooney Hall on Thursday night organised by councillor Lynn Fleming. The meeting was attended by local traders from the Waterside, representatives from Derry City Council and the Culture Company.

The event was organised to allow Waterside traders to raise concerns about the tendering process for City of Culture events.

Ms McLaughlin described the meeting as “productive” and said a number of initiatives have been put in place to help traders.

“We now have a commitment to a strategic focus for traders in the Waterside,” she said. “The traders were concerned about the tendering process and felt they were not being given the opportunity to benefit from events. The need to decouple tendering opportunities was identified and addressed.

“Following Thursday night’s event, I convened an emergency meeting on Friday meeting with stakeholders around tendering and secured an extension to a deadline for tendering for the opportunities at the vital venue at Ebrington. This will allow the traders in the Waterside a bit of time to get involved.

“I have also organised an information session for traders to update them on tendering processes. Following the concerns over the tendering for the opening of the Peace Bridge I thought the city would have learned these lessons and avoided this situation now,” she said.

The MLA also said the Waterside must benefit from the events of next year. “We must ensure that the traders in the Spencer Road and Clooney areas benefit from events at Ebrington. “We need to ensure we maximise the benefits for the Waterside from events like the fleadh and other key City of Culture events taking place, particularly those in Ebrington,” she said.