£3,000 windfall for Winter Wonderland

Time to get Christmas all wrapped up
Time to get Christmas all wrapped up

Ratepayers are to meet 15% of the cost of creating a Winter Wonderland in Broughshane.

The new event, which will be held over two consecutive weekends in December, at Raceview Mill will cost £19,000 to stage and last week a Ballymena Council Committee received a request to contribute £6,000, or 30%, of that total.

Economic & Tourism Development Manager Sean Trainor informed members that the Winter Wonderland was billed as ‘a Christmas experience for all the family’ and that it would include a Santa’s grotto, street performers, artists, musicians, a covered food & craft market and more.

Councillors also heard that the aim was to create a visitor experience that would draw an estimated 4,000 people from outside the borough over the weekends of December 6 & 7 and December 13 & 14.

The organisers estimated too, he added, that at least 80%, or just over £15,000, of the expenditure involved in creating it would benefit the local economy.

Mr Trainor, however, also pointed out that the event had not been budgeted for by Council and suggested that instead of the requested £6,000, £3,000 could be allocated by the local authority from its Economic Development budget.

Proposing the Committee accept his suggestion, Cllr Declan O’Loan described the Raceview Mill initiative as “very, very good”, adding: “It’s right that Council should give this reasonably modest amount”.

Seconder, Cllr Beth Clyde said: “It deserves a trial run.”