£3,575 council website under fire

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DUP councillors have lashed out at Craigavon council officials for spending more than £3,500 on a new website for Oxford Island.

Cllr Carla Lockhart questioned the spend of £3,575 on Lough Neagh Discovery Centre given that the council has recently launched a brand new website.

She queried why the Oxford Island site was not threaded with the official council website which has links to Lurgan Park and other tourist locations.

Her party colleague Cllr Alan Carson agreed and queried why Redrhino Interactive Limited was paid the funds given that there was ”an excellent in-house design team”.

Chief Executive Teresa Donaldson said that while the IT department at Craigavon Council did a very good job they needed help with design.

Cllr Lockhart, who was sitting for the last time as Mayor, told members at a recent council meeting that it was a bit late as “the horse had bolted”.

When the Mail asked the council about the payment, a council spokesperson explained that the payment was for the Craigavon activity website which had proven extremely popular.

The plan was to create a more innovative site to help generate more income.

The spokesperson said: “The £3,575 payment was for the craigavonactivity.org website. in its current setup it was gaining considerable traffic (23000 unique visitor hits in 6 months). It was proposed during the Outdoor Service Review to develop this to provide a more innovative and customer friendly electronic interface.

“Members approved the expenditure as it would bring in more income.

“Craigavonactivity.org is now encompasing all of Craigavon Borough Council’s leisure activities both indoor and outdoor.

“This will be a marketing driven website with the main aim to increase income.

“It will compliment rather than compete with the main council site Craigavon.gov.uk which is used as an information point by visitors and links to Craigavonactivity.org.

“The new website is undergoing testing and will be fully operational live by the end of June. An online campaign using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will take place in July to promote the new site.”

What is your view on the Oxford Island website? Email your views to editor@lurganmail.co.uk or text your views to 84555, starting your message with LMCOMMENTS.