Bill Harpur OBE, Independent (Chairman)
Having retired from running a post-primary school I am now immersed in what was formerly a hobby, namely farming. I have always been interested in the countryside. Nearly all of the landscape in N.I. is man-made; even the ‘non-farmed’ parts have at some time in the past been heavily influenced by human activity. Spring and summer are my favourite seasons, I still marvel at the ‘transformation’ which can be seen everywhere in the spring. The countryside emerges from winter and is reborn with fresh enthusiasm for another growing season.
My favourite view is looking west towards Portrush from the conservatory of the Causeway School Museum. One can enjoy both seascape and landscape from this vantage point.
It is a privilege to live in this landscape with its marvellous views, its unpredictable weather patterns and the fact that each season is very distinctive. This and the rich cultural heritage of our people make Northern Ireland one of the really special places in Western Europe. It is a unique combination that needs to be both preserved and developed.
I would like to think that the Causeway Coast & Glens area in 20 years’ time will have retained its natural unspoilt appearance, have a range of employment opportunities for its young people who will, if they choose, be able to live in vibrant local communities and appreciate their environment.
Cllr. Roy Craig, Larne Borough Council (Vice-Chairman)
Roy was elected to Larne Borough Council in 1997. Served as Mayor 2004/5. He is a qualified teacher of Mathematics but also has many years’ experience as a publican. Now semi-retired his interests include bowls, both indoor and outdoor, cars, reading historical and crime novels, and horse-racing. One of his favourite sites in the locality is Cranny Falls, where he enjoys the quiet walk and splendid views across Carnlough Bay. The leisurely walk, taking little more than an hour, follows the old mineral path from the picturesque harbour in Carnlough up to Cranny Waterfall in Gortin Quarry. Roy is looking forward to the restoration of the Gobbins path and the busloads of tourists that will arrive and stay in the area to experience nearly three miles of heart-stopping paths, bridges and tunnels along the magnificent Gobbins cliffs, just a few feet above the waves of the Irish Sea, an amazing testament to the Victorian entrepreneurial spirit. Roy’s vision for the future of the area is that the Trust and other stakeholders involved in protected area management will be congratulated on the way they have managed the Causeway Coast & Glens area and that the evidence of their work and dedication is apparent in the landscape.
Cllr. Sam Cole, Coleraine Borough Council
Sam is a member of the RSPB and has had a lifelong passion for conservation and wildlife especially in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area. Elected to Coleraine Borough Council in 2005 and re-elected in 2011 Sam has previously served for many years on the Lower Bann Advisory Committee and Sperrin Tourism Ltd. He is also a member of the Binevenagh AONB Committee and several Community Associations. He sits on the Boards of LibrariesNI and NEELB and currently chairs the CBC Leisure and Environment Committee. Sam is a keen angler and flytier and fishes for salmon and trout on the Agivey River within casting distance of his country home at Ballyagan, Garvagh. When the summer rains start falling and the salmon are running Sam develops what is widely known as salmon fever. This may explain apologies being forwarded to some committee meetings on wet summer days! He is married to Ann and has two daughters Sandra who lives in Edinburgh and Cheryl currently at Newcastle University. Sam has therefore a base in England and Scotland where he visits regularly during holiday periods including spending some weekends in the lovely Isle of Skye. He is a keen wildlife gardener and has turned his small holding into a bird, bee and butterfly sanctuary. Sam would love to see the CC and Glens Area becoming a Mecca for tourism and given a National Park status to manage preserve and market the landscape and seascape to its full potential. “Tourists will flock to the area in greater numbers to take part in sporting activities and to experience the welcoming warmth of the local people, the breath-taking scenery and the wealth of flora and fauna that flourish in the area”.
Cllr. Hubert Nicholl, Ballymena Borough Council
Alderman Hubert Nicholl has been a member of Ballymena Borough Council for over 25 years. He has also served three years as Mayor of the Borough.
Hubert’s environmental experience and environmental management has been gained from being a farmer for over 50 years, managing a dairy farm.
He also serves as Vice-Chairman of Northern Ireland Drainage Council which includes great involvement in environmental issues.
Hubert is Chair of ARC 21 Joint Committee for Waste Management involving eleven councils which are obviously involved in environmental matters.
Other appointments Alderman Hubert Nicholl serves are: Vice Chair of Northern Ireland Library Board and Northern Ireland Chair of the Association for Public Service Excellence as well as serving on The National Council of A.P.S.E.
Cllr Cathal McLaughlin, Limavady Borough Council
I am a newly elected candidate from the 2011 elections. Coming from Magilligan along the coast I have always been interested in our countryside and who couldn’t be when faced with Binevenagh Mountain every time you leave the house. I am a keen cyclist and walker and I am going to relish the opportunity of working along with a dedicated and experienced board at the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust. I also chair the Environmental Services Committee in my local council.
Tom McClelland, Ulster Wildlife Trust
Has worked in property and housing. He comments regularly in the media on behalf of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on house prices in Northern Ireland and serves on Council of the Ulster Wildlife Trust
A practical conservationist, part time farmer, forester and former keeper of rare breed pigs he has always loved ‘the great outdoors’ and the enhanced sense of well being that nature can bring.
He is also interested in sustainability, particularly sustainable transport. He advocates that walking and cycling for short journeys are socially inclusive, healthy, economical and good for the environment and by far the best way to see the Causeway Coast and Glens.
Michael Jones, Chairman Binevenagh AONB Management Forum
Resident for 36 years in the same house in Castlerock, looking out onto the Atlantic, I am proud to be Chair of Binevenagh AONB, which provides the immensely rich hinterland to match the majestic shoreline. I also chair Castlerock Community Association, currently making great strides in terms of village renewal and refurbishment, with its spanking new Information and Tourist Centre, in a prime location at the hub of our AONB gateway village. Archaeology and local history are abiding passions, Bishop Hervey and his wonderful Downhill Castle my favourites. The Mussenden Temple bathed in a fiery sunset is every bit as evocative for me as the Temple of Sounion on its stunning Greek headland. A secret ambition is to sit up on the box of the Bishop’s coach one day, rattling down the Bishop’s Road, in sight of Downhill Demesne and blowing the horn, so that the cooks would know to put the ‘taties on for dinner.
A partly-restored Castle should have its tasteful tearoom and shop, to tempt visitors to loiter and linger, remembering that Europe’s finest once flocked here to admire an amazing collection of some of the finest paintings and statues to be seen anywhere in Europe, and majestic, verdant Binevenagh looked on then just as it does now.
Dr. David Erwin, Independent (Co-opted)
Dr David Erwin, Past Chair of the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust and Chair of The Strangford Lough Turbine Science and Liaison Groups, is a past Chairman, past President and past Senior Executive of The Ulster Wildlife Trust. He has sat on the Northern Ireland Committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund and has served two terms on the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (NI) and the NI Biodiversity Working Group. He also served on the U.K. Biodiversity Working Group and on many other Government and voluntary sector committees
and advisory groups. He is the author of a large number of academic and popular publications on environmental matters, particularly on the marine life of Britain and Ireland. In 1992 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to examine Coastal Zone Management in the U.S.A., New Zealand and Australia. He was awarded an O.B.E. in the 2000 New Years Honours list for ‘services to the marine environment’
Married to Barbara, he has 2 children and 4 grandchildren. His daughter, her husband and two children live in Adelaide, South Australia, which accounts for why is sometimes unavailable in the depths of our winter! The home team of his son and wife and their two children live in Ballynahinch.
He is deeply committed to the conservation of the Causeway Coast and Glens area while encouraging its sustainable development. He sees National Park status as a major tool in achieving this ideal.
His favourite places are the Bar Mouth and Magilligan Strand.
Cllr Sandra Hunter, Moyle District Council
Cllr Padraig McShane, Regional Tourism Partnership
Sam Swart, Regional Tourism Partnership
Shirley Orr, South Antrim Rural Network
Max Bryant, National Trust
Ainsley McWilliams, Larne Borough Council
Richard Gillen, Limavady Borough Council
Michael McConaghy, Moyle District Council
Caroline Carey, Moyle District Council
Peter Thompson, Coleraine Borough Council
Moira Mann, Coleraine Borough Council
Sean Trainor, Ballymena Borough Council
Kathleen McBride, Northern Ireland Tourist Board
Since joining the NITB in 2004, I have been Causeway Coast & Glens Manager. My role is to co-ordinate the Causeway Coast & Glens Tourism Masterplan and encourage product development throughout the region. Enhancing the Causeway Coastal Route as a tourism destination is still a priority. As NITB funds the CCGHT, I attend the board meetings.
Although I live in Toomebridge now, I come from Nappan, a small townland north of Carnlough, which overlooks the sea and coastline but is sheltered by a steep wooded mountain behind. My summer holidays were spent helping on the farm and playing on the beach. My favourite place is Ringfad which is a small, quiet beach with silky grey sand. I still enjoy days there with my family.
My vision for the region is to be a vibrant, rural area where visitors can enjoy the landscape and traditions.
Don Wilmont, Causeway Coast and Glens Ltd
Don Wilmont is Manager of Causeway Coast and Glens Regional Tourism Partnership. He has over 30 years’ experience of tourism marketing and development in both the public and private sectors.
Currently, tourism in the region generates approximately £540m and support approximately 8800 full time job equivalents – Don’s vision for the area in the next 10 years is to at least double these benefits for the region.
His favourite site, not just in Causeway Coast and Glens, but in the whole of Ireland, is the panoramic view of Whitepark Bay.
Outside of work, Don has had a lifetime interest in all forms of motorsport, particularly rallying. Having competed at international level as a co-driver, he has fulfilled the role of Championship coordinator for the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship for the past 12 years.
He is also a fervent Tottenham Hotspur supporter!!!
Sandi Howie, Environment and Heritage Service
Brian Connolly, NITB
Finance & Governance Sub-Committee
Cllr Roy Craig
Cllr Hubert Nichol
Cllr Cathal McLaughlin
CCGHT Working Group
Cllr Sandra Hunter
Cllr Roy Craig