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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Appeal to change 'stinking' river
Sir Reg Empey wants Connswater River transformed
An east Belfast river turned into a "stinking mess" by recent hot weather should be transformed just as the River Lagan was, Sir Reg Empey has said.

The Ulster Unionist leader and East Belfast assembly member has launched a campaign over the Connswater River.

He wants to see a clean-up operation in place complimented by walkways for the local community.

"We can do much better than the stinking mess that the Connswater River currently is," Sir Reg said.

"It is full of junk, shopping trolleys and God knows what else.

"For years I have been campaigning for a dramatic redevelopment of the river with Belfast City Council and the East Belfast Partnership for something akin to a mini-Laganside, but progress has been painfully slow."

He said local people should be able to enjoy the river by walking along its banks and taking some pride in this natural resource.

The river has been described as a stinking mess

"That's why I am keen to step the campaign up a gear or two," he added.

The River Lagan, which runs through Belfast, was once known for its dirty water and often foul smell.

However, it has been transformed through the work of the Laganside Corporation, with the 14m Lagan Weir a key part of cleaning the water.

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