Concerns are raised over £30k spend

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DUP councillor Phillip Brett has raised concerns about the amount of money the council is spending on upgrading facilities at the Ballyearl arts and leisure complex.

At this month’s Leisure Committee meeting, councillors were asked to approve a spend of £30,000 on new sound and lighting equipment for The Courtyard Theatre.

“A need has been identified to invest in the purchase and installation of sound and lighting technical equipment. Significant investments have been made in The Courtyard in the last few years, however the venue and quality of the customer experience remains limited in terms of the technical equipment available. It is proposed to address this through the purchase of a PA system, audio accessories and a house lighting system at an estimated cost of £30,000,” the meeting was told.

Members were also informed that the council is currently paying to hire in expensive sound and lighting equipment for performances and events.

Cllr Brett questioned the amount of money being pumped into The Courtyard Theatre, and the move to spend £30k on the facility so close to the merger with Antrim Borough Council.

He suggested that officers should provide a report to show the need for the investment and the potential benefits, before a decision was taken on the subject. However, his proposal didn’t find a seconder.

Hugh Kelly, Director of Leisure Services, stressed that the council “had to invest to maintain and develop its sites.”

Members approved an economic appraisal for the purchase and installation of the equipment, which will allow the council to borrow money for the project from the government’s consolidated loans fund.

The committee’s decision still has to be ratified.