A Sinn Fein councillor has called on people involved in building bonfires to help clean up the mess afterwards.
Councillor Brenda Chivers was speaking after it was revealed Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council paid £25,000 for the clean-up of recent bonfire sites.
The figure was released at a meeting of the environmental services committee on Tuesday, which Colr. Chivers is a member of.
“You have to acknowledge the work that has gone on with Council on this issue, however, £25,000 is a lot of money to pay to clean up rubbish,” said Colr. Chivers. “This is money that could be used within communities and to help the people who live there.”
It was also revealed that “during the period 1st April 2016 to present a total of 29 complaints were recorded by the directorate covering 10 sites. Four complaints remain under investigation,” a committee report stated.
Council said a number of measures were deployed including the use of temporary site fencing, skips and signage together with local negotiations with respect to the removal of tyres and other unsuitable items.
Council have said all sites under their control have since been cleared of debris and, where possible, scrap metal salvaged. The cost of clearance and repairs including labour and disposal charges was £25,000.
Colr. Chivers said more engagement is needed between people involved in building bonfires, the people who live in the communities where the bonfires are erected, and with local representatives.
“I would like to see, pre-bonfire season, a committment from the people involved in building bonfires that they would give an assurance to to help in the clean-up operation afterwards,” she said. “Sinn Fein is not against anyone’s culture, but we want ensure these activities are carried out in a safe and non-sectarian way. It would also help alleviate the fears of people who live there. Now is the time to start dialogue.”