Environment Minister Mark H Durkan was in Ballymena last week as he continued his meetings with key council groups driving local government reform.
On Tuesday the Minister took part in a forum of the Mid and East Antrim Statutory Transition Committee (STC) at The Braid.
Mr Durkan said: “The STCs are playing a critical role in helping to drive local government reform and prepare for the new 11 councils which will come into being in shadow form after the elections next May.
“Going forward, I will support the changing role of the three existing councils (Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne) and provide them with a robust and comprehensive legislative and operational framework so that the newly created Mid and East Antrim District Council is open for business in April, 2015.
“It’s now less than 500 days until that date,” the Minister added.