Bonfire site on East Belfast Greenway will be ‘cleaned and tidy’, says councilor

A loyalist bonfire site along a multi-million pound greenway in east Belfast will be ‘kept tidy’ before Eleventh Night, a councilor has claimed.

Stacks of pallets have been placed near Flora Street on the Connswater Greenway, a route popular with families, walkers and cyclists.

The bonfire has come under fire in previous years after wood and dozens of tires were stored on the landscaped driveway, which is near a primary school and a center for Hobbies.

Read more:A public consultation will be held on the future of the dividing bonfire site at Belfast’s North Interface

Bonfire material was removed with community consent in 2017 when the pathway, part of the £40m Connswater Community Greenway project, had only recently opened.

The area was also at the center of tension in 2019 when a bonfire was lit in the parking lot of the nearby Avoniel Recreation Base.

Council plans to remove the stake were scrapped after contractors withdrew following grim threats of graffiti.

The leisure center has since received an £8million redevelopment, with new 3G slots built in the former car park.

Pallets have been spotted stacked on the green lane near Flora Street since April this year.

DUP Councilor George Dorrian said the bonfire builders have “engaged positively” with Belfast City Council.

He said: “It’s been a bonfire site for several years and is generally well supported.

“The bonfire builders have engaged positively with the council to ensure the site is cleaned and tidied for the next few weeks.”

Ulster Unionist Councilor Jim Rodgers said he would investigate to ensure the July bonfire is not too close to neighboring properties.

He noted that the site is close to the new Elmgrove Primary School as well as the recently redeveloped Avoniel Leisure Centre.

“As elected officials, we have a responsibility to ensure that these buildings are protected because of the amount of money that is invested in them,” he said.

A bonfire at Connswater Greenway in East Belfast

“The last thing we would want to see is a bonfire nearby and causing serious damage.”

He added: ‘We don’t want to stop bonfires, whether Loyalist or Republican, but we have a responsibility as elected officials to protect property.

A council spokesperson said: “Belfast City Council’s approach to bonfire management is led by elected members and decisions are made on a site-by-site basis.

“The Board is aware that bonfire materials are being collected on this site and we continue to work with elected members and key stakeholders, including statutory partners and the community, to address how bonfires joy are managed and minimize any potential negative impact on local residents.”

Earlier this week it emerged that a public consultation was to be held on the future of a controversial bonfire site at a north Belfast interface.

The bonfire in Adam Street in the loyalist area of ​​Tigers Bay became the center of political and communal tensions last summer.

The Stormont Communities Department will launch a consultation on the way forward for the decommissioned site.

In February, it emerged that an internal report from Belfast City Council had warned that the local authority risked being held liable for nuisance, damage or injury caused by bonfires built on its land.

Last December, Stormont released a long-delayed report on resolving flag and bonfire disputes, but no action plan was agreed upon for implementing any of its recommendations.

Read more:A public consultation will be held on the future of the dividing bonfire site at Belfast’s North Interface

Read more:Belfast council risks legal liability for bonfires on its land, internal report warns

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