Preparations are now almost complete for the amalgamation of Lisburn City and Castlereagh Borough Council.
At the start of next month the two councils will combine to become ‘Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’, one of eleven new super councils in Northern Ireland.
The amalgamated council has been operating in shadow form for the past year, since the 2014 local government elections and presiding officer, Alderman James Tinsley, said the he hopes the transition will be as seamless as possible.
“It has been a very smooth transition,” said Mr Tinsley. “I have never seen a smoother process during my whole time as a councillor.”
Last week the new council held its AGM, when Councillor Thomas Beckett was elected as the first Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and Councillor Alexander Redpath was elected as Deputy Mayor.
“The biggest hurdle we faced was the AGM,” continued Mr Tinsley. “It was done in fifteen minutes and we now have a four year plan set in place for the allocation of council positions
“ There has been good teamwork, from the group leaders down to every single councillor.
“The new councils have blended really well and the personalities now are better placed.”
Mr Tinsley said one of the main priorities for the start of the new council is to ensure members of the public are kept informed about the transition.
“The marketing department have been fantastic in keeping people informed and we want to make sure that continues,” said Mr Tinsley.
“People will have more of a voice in the new council and it is important that the community is involved in the production of a Community Plan, which we will be working on during the first year of the council term.”
Mr Tinsley said he hoped members of the public would quickly become used to the new amalgamated council as the councillors and staff work to create a better Lisburn for everyone. “I really hope that in a year’s time people will think ‘we have always been like this’.”