In the third and final visit to each of the council areas which make up the Mid South West (MSW) Region, Minister Mallon met the Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Paul McLean, who is also the current Chair of the MSW Region Governance Steering Group, alongside other elected representatives.
In a wide-ranging discussion, which focused on the specific strategic infrastructure priorities for Mid Ulster as part of the wider Mid South West Region, the Minister heard about the infrastructure required to support the delivery of growth projects as well as the time-critical need to deliver on bypasses for both Cookstown and Dungannon.
The meeting coincided with the second day of the A29 Cookstown Bypass public information event which was also held at the Burnavon Arts and Cultural Centre. Members of the MSW grouping also emphasised the importance of opening up access to industrial land at strategic sites such as Desertcreat, as well as the need to address investment in utilities, most notably in the wastewater treatment systems which are already beyond capacity in Mid Ulster.
Active travel projects, alongside the opportunities to build on the development potential of the Ulster Canal and a range of greenway and blueway projects, also formed part of the meeting’s agenda.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr McLean, said: “There is an inextricable link between well-developed infrastructure in its broadest sense and a region’s pace of economic growth.
“And if infrastructure is a key economic driver, then addressing the regional, historical imbalance and underinvestment in infrastructure is critical to the overall success of Mid Ulster and the Mid South West region.
“It is equally critical to the ability of our business base, particularly our manufacturing sector, to expand and to compete more effectively in local, regional and international markets. We welcomed the opportunity to raise these issues with the Minister in what was a productive and valuable engagement.”