Ministerial Statement: Quality Initiative
Ladies and gentlemen, I am conscious that today we are engaged in the first step of what may be a radical change in the way the Belfast City Region will develop in the first years of the new Millennium.
I believe that this city region has the potential to compete with the most successful regions in Europe. The challenges and opportunities, however, must be grasped with purpose, imagination and vigour. The planning decisions and commitments made over the next few years will largely determine the direction and pattern of the region’s growth for the first decades of the next century.
Choosing the appropriate form of regional development should be an issue for all inhabitants of the region. The plans for each district should be consistent with the overall pattern for the entire city region. Every section of our diverse community should be involved in understanding the problems and opportunities and developing a strategic plan to achieve a shared vision. Experience of other city regions such as Barcelona, Toronto, Glasgow and Pittsburgh prove that positive and lasting change can and do occur as the result of a visionary approach and a progressive planning agenda.
The document issued today seeks to stimulate discussion and produce a consensus about the most critical development issues. This open and participative approach will, I believe, help us to shape the future of the Belfast City Region and to develop our vision for the City of Belfast which will enable it to become competitive, socially inclusive and sustainable.
My vision is of a city and region in which people have both the opportunity and the confidence to live, work, shop and take their leisure in a high quality environment. I look forward to your views on the points that I have made – because you, and those whom you represent, have a crucial part to play in making this vision a reality.