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Pravda spacer Issue 9
Pravda - Laganlines
by Cherie Driver
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Distributed in Belfast, approximately 180,000 of you are already familiar with 'Laganlines', the newssheet which gives quarterly updates on Laganside Corporations development sites, and news of events mostly held in the now developed Laganside properties/areas. For those of you who are not so familiar with Laganside Corporation and its newssheet; Laganside Corporation is a development company created in 1989 by the Government; it was activated with a primary remit to re-generate socially and economically Belfast's Lagan river banks - with assistance from the now total of £665 million of private investment. The newssheet is seen as a key instrument of the Corporations 'Community Strategy', to simultaneously inform us of the Corporations new developments in the pipeline, and to celebrate the successes in terms of increased cultural activity of the ones now complete. To what end you may ask, to chase away any "unnecessary anxiety" for those of us who may view the corporation and its development projects as a "threat", of course, while emphasising the Corporations interest and generous contribution to uplift, us, the arts, and the activities of organisations representing the greater community.
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So does the newssheet carry through on its commitments to give us news of the Corporations redevelopment projects with sprinklings of cultural events and activities? The main feature although not credited to be penned by anyone (although commonsense indicates that it was written by someone in the Marketing Department) is about Laganside's transformational redevelopment scheme for the
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'Custom House Square' in Belfast. Accompanied by a drawing of the proposed development, this vision is a hive of activity, a scene with lush spring trees, a mother with child crossing the clean paved streets, and two ladies who seem to be standing in the far from 'dynamic water feature' which will resurrect from memory the 'old days' when the River Farset flowed through the square. Kyle Alexander, Chief Executive of Laganside Corporation whose quotes dominate the entire feature assures us the restoration of the square to its "former glory" will be an "excitingŠ..step towards the regeneration of our city and will act as an ideal link from the City Centre to the already successfully redeveloped Odyssey and Lanyon Place locations" also Laganside development projects. The remainder of the front page brings us news of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival which ran earlier this summer - the Cathedral Quarter is also an area which has seen redevelopment by Laganside. And finally a "Happy Birthday, Belfast GEMS!" greeting - Belfast GEMS is an employment initiative, partly sponsored by Laganside.
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The second page continues in the celebratory tone which aligns increase economical development with an augmented prosperity in the arts. There are further pieces on the Belfast's Cathedral Quarter Festival, Gagging for Bass Comedy Weekend, Celtic Film and Television Festival, Events at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast City Council Events, and the upcoming program for the Tinderbox Theatre Company.
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There is now a familiar recipe of news on arts events with a sprinkling of redevelopment announcements, page three features 'The Calling', an artwork by artist Paddy McCann, commissioned by Laganside on Gordon Street. New bollards on the theme of currency will be artworks designed by the artist Peter Rooney to be placed on Gordon Street, the page also features news of the 'Blood Drawings' on the hoarding boards of Lanyon Place redevelopment site by Rita Duffy. Of course the sprinkle is the news in the piece Pravdad 'Major Hotel Chain comes to Laganside'. This feature announces the arrival of Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts with a new £14 million hotel on the Ormeau Road Gasworks site. And the final page brings us 'Tales of the Riverbank', and 'Watersports in the heart of the city' and the announcement of the increase of one to three (one of which is part-time) to the Laganside Community Team.
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So does the newssheet chase away any "unnecessary anxiety" for those of us who may view the corporation and its development projects as a "threat", while emphasising increased activities for us, the arts, and the activities of organisations representing the greater community? For some of you it does, for others it does not, but there is no doubt that it is vanity printing on the part of Laganside.
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Footnote: A frightening after thought, during my consideration of the newsletter, I calculated, with great accuracy I might add, that if one lay open side by side all the printed Laganlines newssheets to date, they would create a path 1,499.4 Kilometres long. That means that in approximately 4.25 years we could have an unbroken band of 'Laganlines' the length of the earth's equator. Hope there are plans for a few recycling bins. All information in this article with reference to Laganside Corporations 'History' and 'Community Strategy' has been sourced from their website at www.laganside.com
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Laganlines
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