Council looking at ‘options’ for future of ecos

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Private talks on the future of Ballymena’s ecos centre have been held by the new Mid & East Antrim Borough Council at committee level.

While the discussion last Monday night in Larne was held behind closed doors with press and public excluded, a spokesperson for Mid & East Antrim Council revealed to The Times on Friday that Council were looking at “options” for the facility.

“Council are considering options for the ecos centre with a view to supporting our objectives of growing the economy and encouraging job creation,” the spokesperson stated, adding: “We will be in a position to provide details when these plans are developed further.”

It is understood members of the local authority’s Economic Growth and Development Committee discussed the possibility of refurbishing the facility in a bid to establish an ‘Environmental Innovation Centre’ at the site off Broughshane Road, the first step of which would involve carrying out an economic appraisal.

Built as an educational tool for renewable energy and a model of sustainability at a cost of £10m, the centre, it seems, is now anything but. Fifteen years on, visitors have largely stopped coming, many displays are obsolete, the building is primarily used for office space and the roof has developed major leaks which will cost in the region of £300,000 to repair.

The issue of whether or not to repair the roof had been the subject of indepth discussions by the former Ballymena Council but no decision was ever reached on it.