Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) has given the green light to a multi-million pound redevelopment at Dundonald International Ice Bowl at a full Council meeting this evening.

Councillors agreed to invest £52 million in the project over the next three years. The UK Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has already pledged £12.2 million in financial support.

Speaking at the meeting, LCCC Chief Executive, David Burns described the investment as a ‘landmark commitment’ and highlighted the strategic importance of Dundonald International Ice Bowl to Northern Ireland as a whole.

The Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Andrew Gowan said: “Dundonald International Ice Bowl is a major tourist attraction in Northern Ireland, bringing more than half a million people to Dundonald every year since opening in 1986. As the only Olympic-sized ice rink in Northern Ireland and on the island of Ireland, it is the training home for the Belfast Giants and provides unique facilities for elite ice skaters to develop their talents.

“After 37 years, the building is no longer fit for purpose. Today’s announcement means we will see an exciting new leisure facility open to the public in 2026. We expect visitor numbers to rise to over 700,000 in the first year. During construction, the existing ice bowl will remain open for business with full access to all activities.

“This flagship facility will help to grow our economy regionally, create jobs and enhance tourism within the LCCC area and greater Belfast. It will also contribute to local regeneration and support inclusion and equality of access to important health and wellbeing activities locally. The Council’s ambitious capital programme also includes proposals for further development at Lough Moss and Laurelhill with works commenced on 3G pitches, Hilden Primary School, Wallace Play Park and Royal Hillsborough public realm.

“In less than three years’ time, local people and visitors from across Northern Ireland and beyond will be able to enjoy a state-of-the-art leisure facility with an Olympic-sized ice rink; a 24-lane bowling alley; 100-station gym; community rooms; restaurant and coffee shop.

“We are committed to ensuring this is a positive experience for everyone and have carefully considered access arrangements. The new facility will include changing place facilities and a full range of accessible equipment supporting people to enjoy the gym, ice and bowling. We anticipate that works will commence later this year and I am excited to see this project progress.”