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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Michael Kenwood

Belfast Council plan for £70,000 "Giant Bubble" questioned

A Belfast Council plan to spend £70,000 on a “giant bubble” has been held up after being questioned by elected representatives.

At the most recent committee meeting at Belfast City Council, an officer update report on contracts sought approval from councillors for a number of “single tender actions”.

They involved a contract for up to £100,000 for six months, awarded to MCS Group, for Environmental Health Officers and Technical Support Officers to cover 24 hour shift rotas cover “for essential service delivery” within the Port Health Service. Among the responsibilities of these contracted workers will be the Irish Sea border Brexit trade checks.

Read more: Ormeau Lockhouse community wellbeing centre plan approved at City Hall

Councillors were asked to approve a 12 month contract for up to £2.3m, awarded to Bryson Recycling for the provision of kerbside collections and treatment services for recyclable materials, as well as a £435,000 catering contract (café and small events) at Malone House, for up to 10 months. Members were also asked to approve a three month contract of £59,915 awarded to Energy Systems Catapult, for the delivery of a feasibility study on the Net Zero Belfast initiative.

Eyebrows were raised however with the inclusion of a two day contract for up to £70,000, awarded to Atelier Sisu for the acquisition of a “unique Giant Bubble Art Installation” as part of the Belfast Maritime Festival this year.

The Strategic Policy and Resources Committee report states, in its entirety on the contract: “The festival board decided that the unique design was best fitting to enhance the festival in an international setting with lots of social network opportunities to showcase Belfast’s most iconic landmarks and enhance the ambience and curiosity around Belfast’s Maritime Event offering.”

During the S,P&R Committee meeting, Sinn Féin Councillor Ronan McLaughlin said: “I would like this to be deferred for a bit more information, because to be honest, this is as clear as mud. This is £70,000 for two days awarded to the contractor for the acquisition of a giant bubble.”

The committee agreed that the contract be deferred until after the May council elections, at the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee in June.


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