The Director of Economic Development reminded the Committee that the Council, at its meeting on 4th October, had considered the following motion which had been proposed by Councillor de Faoite and seconded by Councillor Smyth:
“Belfast City Council:
i. Recognises the profound impact of the pandemic on the city’s nightlife, music, arts and entertainment sectors and the night-time economy and acknowledges the actions of Council Officers to support a managed return of Belfast’s nightlife in difficult circumstances;
ii. Further recognises that, for many residents and visitors, Belfast at night may not feel safe or welcoming at present due to changes in behaviour and the use of space over the last 18 months;
iii. Believes significant night-time challenges existed prior to COVID-19, including issues around licensing, policing, public safety, diversity, organisational and venue capacity, public transit and sustainability;
iv. Further believes that the establishment of a vibrant, diverse and sustainable nightlife between 6pm and 6am will help us meet the objectives set out in the Belfast Agenda, including encouraging city centre living and creating a vibrant, well-connected environment for people to enjoy;
v. Seeks to create a nightlife for the City which is inclusive of young people, women, LGBT+ people and ethnic minorities;
vi. Believes that this work to establish Belfast’s nightlife takes on a new urgency following the pandemic;
vii. Notes that several cities have chosen to establish a nightlife co-ordinator including Dublin, London, Amsterdam, Washington D.C., New York, Paris, Zurich, Toulouse and Mannheim;
viii. Shall convene a one day roundtable discussion about the future of Belfast’s nightlife and the immediate challenges posed in the city between 6pm and 6am, with Elected Members, relevant Executive Ministers and political representatives, trade unions, public and private transport providers, artists, event organisers, venue owners, industry and consumer representatives, student unions, Belfast City Youth Council and non-profit organisations, including but not limited to Reclaim The Night, the Rainbow Project, Women’s Aid and the SOS Bus; and
ix. Agrees to establish a co-ordinator for Belfast’s nightlife or “Night Mayor” who will co-ordinate the work of the Council and relevant partners in developing and promoting the city’s nightlife and night-time economy following the roundtable discussion.”
Councillor de Faoite addressed the Committee and referred to the Belfast Agenda. He stated that it did not mention the nightlife economy and that it should include a focus on Belfast City nightlife and the nighttime economy. He added that the Council, as city leaders, should take the time to bring interested partners and stakeholders together to establish clear parameters and appoint a champion to lead on that work.
Moved by Councillor Hussey,
Seconded by Alderman Kingston,
That Committee agrees that, in advance of a report on how the Motion would be facilitated, resourced and managed, officers would establish the feasibility and interest in convening a roundtable discussion and the creation of a Night Mayor.
On a vote, five Members voted for the proposal and 13 against and it was declared lost.
Accordingly, the Committee agreed that a report on how the Motion would be facilitated, resourced and managed would be brought back to a future meeting of the Committee.