During today’s Question Time Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Caral Ni Chuilin, discussed the DCAL and Belfast City Council investment in the redevelopment of Windsor Park and Olympia leisure centre. The Windsor Park project is “progressing very well”. The pitch has been resurfaced and the south and east stands have been demolished with reconstruction well under way. So long as there are no unforeseen difficulties construction should be completed by November 2015. The Olympia Leisure Centre will receive an investment of £2.75m and redevelopment should be completed by autumn 2016. The Minister is hoping for “minimal disruption to local residents and enhanced opportunities for people living around the environment of the stadia”.
Trevor Lunn was also keen to ask the Minister about arts organisations and how they can be helped to become more financially sustainable. The Minister affirmed that “I have consistently highlighted the benefits that arts bring to individuals, communities, society and the economy, and I have continually made the case in funding rounds that arts should be properly supported and funded”. She remains aware of the difficulties being created by the current financial climate and, while budget reductions are managed by the relevant board, DCAL will work closely with the Arts Council “to minimise the impacts on jobs and front-line services where possible.”
The Minister also answered questions on all Ireland fishing licences, leisure activities at Strangford Lough and staff losses in Libraries NI as a result of budget cuts.