The first step has been taken towards the creation of a plan to manage the future development of the Sperrins.
The Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Kim Ashton, and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh both spoke at the opening of the ‘Future Search’ event which will consider the history and heritage of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, together with current issues, ultimately agreeing a statement of ‘common ground’ and an action plan.
Attendees are drawn from across the community, special interest groups, as well as the public and private sectors, organised jointly by the four local councils - Causeway Coast & Glens, Derry City & Strabane, Fermanagh & Omagh and Mid Ulster - whose districts include parts of the mountain range.
Councillor Kim Ashton, said:
“The success of the conference relies upon all those with a genuine interest in an issue coming together, committed to talking, to listening and to sharing ideas, with the ultimate aim of finding common ground.
“This is a very active process. There are no powerpoint presentations, no discussion papers and no expert panels. There is simply all of the people in the room who come from a whole range of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to look to the future and the development of action plans”.
Councillor McHugh said:
“These are a very important 3 days about a landscape which is very dear to each and every one of us.
“The Sperrins are a resource there to be utilised to the best possible advantage of all our citizens and it’s very appropriate that every interested group has the opportunity to contribute to the development of this resource.
“It’s our heritage, our country, our people and their future that we’re concerned about”.
The conference continues until Friday 29 September 2017.