Seeing how I wasn't blogging as much over the election campaign I feel compelled to let you all know what the latest is and how things are going.
Friday will see the AGM of the Short Strand Partnership Board, lots to discuss, resolve and most importantly lots of important matters to continue working on!
The next few weeks will also see the opening of Arás Mhic Airt (Mac Airt House) the extension to Arás Seán Uí Mháirtín (Sean Martin House) at the bottom of Beechfield Street in the Strand. These much needed housing units, which are geared towards the over 55's in order to free up any multiple room housing they currently occupy, are being allocated to those most in need as we speak. Fair play to St Matthews Housing Association for all the important work they are involved with.
Plans are well ahead for our weekend of events to mark the 40th anniversary of the Battle of St Matthews at the end of June. Open auditions were held for those wanting to take part in a dramatic adaptation of that famous night, with over 40 budding actors in attendance. I can't wait to see how it transfers onto the stage and I am greatly excited about the programme of events for what will no doubt be a momentous weekend!
I have also finalised with Conor Murphy's office, plans for him to visit the Short Strand at the beginning of next month. We have much to discuss. For some time now Sinn Féin, alongside the local community, have been lobbying a number of agencies on the future sustainability of the Translink Bus Depot in the district; not only are there major concerns around air pollution and health implications but also about the sheer size of this depot and how it impedes any future development (which is much needed) of social and community amenities. Conor will meet myself and other local community groups and representatives to discuss this matter as well as number of other issues of concern, most notably around traffic problems, in the area.
We are still in the early stages of our exciting plans for transforming 'The Green' at the top of the Mountpottinger Road into something much more suitable and exciting for the local communities. I have been meeting several agencies, including the deputy First Minister's Office, the Housing Executive as well as some of our Councillors at City Hall on this matter and I have meetings penciled in with other groups for over the next few weeks. I'll keep you all updated on this much needed and important project.
The summer will also see the begining of the dismantling of Mountpottinger Barracks. We will once again be calling for a meeting with DSD Minister Margaret Ritchie seeking her department to acquire this land urgently to develop the much needed and much sought after social, family housing.
So don't let anyone tell you because the election is over things calm down, there's a lot of work ahead and that's a good thing!!