DUP Ards Leader Says Exploris Aquarium Business Case Being Developed


FOLLOWING November’s full council meeting of Ards Borough Council, Councillor Eddie Thompson, Council DUP Group Leader, said: ” “The DUP Group is delighted that a further two month extension to the stay on closure of Exploris has been agreed.

“It is disappointing that the Alliance Party grouping did not see fit to support the proposal put forward by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

[caption id="attachment_43452" align="alignright" width="360"]A new funding proposal is being sought for the the Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry. A new funding proposal is being sought for the the Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry.[/caption]

“Nobody wants to see Exploris close but the Council has recognised for some considerable time that the status quo is unsustainable. That is why on two occasions the Council has agreed to seek private management.

“The DUP group is of the view that this facility cannot continue to drain £600,000 from ratepayers money on an annual basis.We took the decision of closure and disposal of Exploris on this criteria, but we are pragmatic enough to consider all options surrounding the facility.

“That is why we proposed the initial stay of two months and wrote to the relevant Executive departments to seek their proposals. Our stance received unanimous support from the Council.

“We have been and continue to press MLA’s, Executive Ministers and all other parties to find a solution. It is encouraging that the Environment Minister has made tentative proposals in terms of Exploris and these need to be explored further.

“This is the reason we are supportive of the preparation of a business case for the Exploris aquarium.We look forward to further developments,” added Cllr Thompson.