Ballina Town Councillors and Management have agreed to increase the level of spending to attract visitors to the town by €20,000 with calls for the creation of an mobile phone app to promote activities.
The call for the creation of a mobile phone app highlighting activities to do in the town was raised by Independent councillor Mary Kelly at last week’s annual budget meeting. The councillors agreed to freeze commercial rates for 2012 while deciding to increase the budget for promoting the town from €40,000 to €60,000.
Town Manager, Paddy Mahon proposed that a committee would be set up to manage the funds which would be used to attract major events such as the Fleadh Cheoil, which the north Mayo capital successfully hosted in the nineties.
Cllr Kelly told the meeting that tourism was very important to the town and it was important that money was put into programmes which would benefit the town. She said one of the ways to promote the town was to create an App for a mobile phone which will highlight all the town has to offer.
“An app for mobile phone users would be a good guide for visitors to Ballina and can show historic sites and points of interest. The days of going into an office for a brochure are gone, people just go on the internet. I have done some research into this and it would cost €5,000 to develop an app and that is what I would be pushing for,” she said.
Her proposal for an App for the town was supported by Fine Gael councillor Barry McLoughlin who described the idea as ‘absolutely brilliant’. However he said it baffled him that despite Ballina being known as the salmon capital of Ireland you could not buy wild fresh salmon.
Meara of Ballina, Cllr Peter Clarke said the cuts to the budget had been tough but he was confident Ballina could still provide the services needed. He said trying to attract the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil to the town would be a worthwhile project and would attract business to Ballina. He also said he looked forward to the opening of the Jackie Clarke Library in the autumn.
The Council also set aside €22,500 for the take-over of housing estates and address the problems associated with them. This was welcomed by the councillors who said it was a disgrace that estates were being left unfinished and without street lighting.
Mr Mahon thanked his colleagues for putting the budget together but said there were many challenges ahead. However he ended on a word of caution that in the past they had always put money aside for rainy days.