£1.5 million Marina opened

The new purpose-built million pound facilities at Portglenone Marina have been officially opened by the Mayor of Ballymena, Cllr Audrey Wales.

The marina has undergone a major transformation at a total cost of £1.5million which has been part funded by Ballymena Borough Council, NITB and the Rural Development Programme.

At a special ceremony held in the grounds of the new facilities Mayor Cllr Audrey Wales thanked and congratulated all who have been involved in putting the project together.

The launch saw the opening of a new purpose-built pavilion for marina users and visitors equipped with toilets, shower facilities, recreation room and decking along the river’s edge. Additional refurbishments include events area with tiered seating and vehicle access point to the events area, six service points for camper vans, toddler play area and a mobile storage area.

The Community Rescue Service, who had their boats on display at the launch, have also benefited from the new building as they have a base location on the water’s edge as they continue to make the waterways safe and accessible.

Mayor of Ballymena Borough Council Cllr Audrey Wales stated at the launch: “This project has undoubtedly breathed new life into the marina economy, local economy and creates tourism opportunities for the Borough. I encourage visitors and residents to use this facility, it is a great boost to the village of Portglenone and will complement other facilities along the river.”

Chair of NER LAG Councillor Billy Henry said: “I am delighted to be here this morning as Chair of the North East Rural Development Local Action Group to be part of the launch of this exciting project. The project that is being launched today is a great example of how the Rural Development Programme’s Tourism Measure has helped to invigorate and regenerate our rural areas”.

Alan Clarke, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Chief Executive, said: “NITB is delighted to support this fantastic project under our Tourism Development Scheme. Our inland waterways are a precious tourism asset and this marina is situated at the heart of one of our key destinations, linking the Bann to the Causeway Coastal Route. These new facilities will bring an increase in visitors to the river and to Portglenone, will support local private tour operators and will have a positive impact on the local economy.”