NEW BELFAST CHAMBER PRESIDENT SETS OUT AMBITION FOR A CLEAN, SAFE AND VIBRANT CITY
Alana Coyle has been elected as the new President of Belfast Chamber at the organisation’s recent Annual General Meeting which was held in PwC’s Merchant Square office in Belfast city centre.
A Partner at commercial real estate advisory firm Finch, Alana succeeds Michael Stewart in the role.
Setting out her priorities for her term in office, Alana Coyle continued, “It is a real honour to be elected to serve as President of Belfast Chamber. Our organisation continues to go from strength to strength, firmly establishing itself as the voice of business in Belfast, and I am in no doubt that Belfast Chamber – like the city itself – has a bright future ahead of it.
A key area of focus for Belfast Chamber has been to encourage the accelerated delivery of the regeneration of Belfast, and we have sought to lead the debate on Belfast’s regeneration on behalf of all of our members.
My career in commercial real estate working with clients across a range of sectors to help improve our city, has made me very aware of how important rebuilding Belfast is both symbolically and strategically, and it is amazing to see so many major infrastructure projects like the Ulster University campus, Belfast Transport Hub, new hotels and office accommodation and thousands of purpose built student beds rising out of the ground, being built by Belfast Chamber members and signifying Belfast’s ongoing renewal.
Belfast Chamber has devoted a lot of time in recent years to thinking about the spaces between those places and how we can make Belfast a more people centred city. We recognise that attracting and retaining talent is central to Belfast’s economic success. It is also a recognition of the reality that people’s expectations of cities like Belfast is changing.
During my time as President, Belfast Chamber will continue to work with our partners in City Hall and Stormont to push forward that positive agenda for Belfast, seeking to build a city that is an even better place to live, work, study and visit and, in so doing, benefit businesses across Belfast”.
Turning to ongoing issues with cleanliness and safety in the city, Alana continued, “As well as generating new ideas I want Belfast Chamber to be a critical friend, pointing out where problems lie and what is impeding the growth of our city, and I want to do just that as I conclude by addressing something that is as visible to those of us who work in this city as the changing skyline is.
Belfast has come on leaps and bounds in the last 20 years. Belfast has undoubtedly changed for the better, but we also need to be honest and acknowledge when things aren’t up to scratch.
Belfast Chamber has long reiterated that clean and safe streets are the bedrock of any successful city. I know that many will share my concerns that Belfast is experiencing serious issues at present with cleanliness and safety. A recent survey of 160 members showed that nearly 2/3 thought that the cleanliness of the city centre was poor or very poor whilst 72% of businesses believed that the city was less clean and less safe since the pandemic. That simply isn’t good enough.
Belfast Chamber expects those with responsibility to do more and to do better. We will work with the Council, the PSNI and other stakeholders to raise standards.
We have come so far as a city. We have worked hard to transform Belfast. We cannot allow the basics of cleanliness and safety to become a deterrent for visitors or investment”.