Securing a bus shelter for Kilmacthomas has been made a public service priority by local councillor Liam Brazil and Waterford TD John Deasy.
The Fine Gael colleagues have made representations to Waterford City and County Council on the issue, which has come up repeatedly in their contacts with residents over recent years.
In reply to a letter from Deputy Deasy to County Manager Michael Walsh, the Council’s Director of Services Paul Daly confirmed: “We have investigated the matter and we are prepared to erect a bus shelter as requested. We are currently procuring same and seeking possible funding from the bus operator. It is hoped to have the funding in place in the coming weeks.”
The village is practically halfway between the city and the county town of Dungarvan and a lot of people, including senior citizens and parents with young children, use the Bus Éireann service between Cork and Waterford on a daily basis.
Pleased that progress is being made, Cllr Brazil said: “I have raised this at local authority level on a number of occasions and the need for a bus shelter was also brought up time and again on the extensive election canvass I did in Kilmac’. Last winter was one of the wettest on record and it’s long past the time when passengers should be expected to wait for a bus exposed to the elements.”
With a location earmarked at the end of Main Street, Deputy Deasy says it’s time to finally put this relatively small but still significant piece of infrastructure in place.
“I’ve been informed by the Department of Transport that a new €7 million fund for public transport improvements includes €1.5m for a major investment programme in bus shelters across the country.
“An estimated 40 additional shelters are to be provided under this measure, specifically targeting rural areas and I will be urging Waterford council officials to pursue this funding for Kilmacthomas if necessary,” he said.
The news that sufficient funding will be released to complete the refurbishment of Abbeyside beach comes after four years of lobbying central government.
In 2009 Dungarvan Town Council asked the National Building Agency to draw up a master plan for the Abbeyside waterfront which has fallen into disrepair over the past number of years.
Deputy John Deasy said: “The €183,000 being grant aided should be enough to complete the project as submitted by the Town Council. This summer the beach was busier than it has been for years but the state of the infrastructure is just not good enough. The Town Council did well to identify this grant scheme and apply for the money.”
The Abbeyside Waterfront development – covering an area from the Pond to Lands’ End; a linear shoreline length of 1.3km – will consist of:
“I am told by Town Council officials that it is ready to go after tendering and specification. The overall spend should be in the region of €0.25 million, with 75 per cent of the money coming from the grant scheme.”
::: Speaking about rates at the PAC on June 20
John tells Public Accounts Committee that revaluation process could leave local retail businesses on brink
Fine Gael TD John Deasy has called on the cabinet to immediately consider the potentially “catastrophic” implications of the rates revaluation process for retailers throughout Waterford city and county.
The Valuation Office has begun a systematic National Revaluation Programme based on a 2011 analysis of non-domestic rental values. Proposed Valuation Certificates have been issued to thousands of commercial and industrial ratepayers across Waterford over the past month.
With the average rateable increase in the retail sector locally around 40–50 per cent, “Make no mistake – people will be put out of business due to this revaluation,” Mr Deasy warned this week. “Many retailers are facing a doubling or even tripling of their commercial rates.
“The South East region has been worst affected by the recession, and the sector worst affected within that region – retail – is in danger of being crushed by this process.”
“In my home town of Dungarvan they are also potentially facing an increase as a result of the abolition of the Town Council and the harmonisation of Town Council rates with the higher County rate. Then there’s Waterford City, where there’s an enormous unemployment rate; approaching 30 per cent in parts.
“The South East region has been worst affected by the recession, and the sector worst affected within that region – retail – is in danger of being crushed by this process,” added Mr Deasy, who met the Commissioner for Valuation in Waterford at the weekend.
He also raised the issue at the Public Accounts Committee last Thursday, where he agreed with retail ratepayers that there’s “a massive disconnect between Dublin and what’s going on on the ground.”
While accepting “the people in the Valuation Office are merely doing their jobs,” Deputy Deasy maintains that “the legislation allowing for the revaluation doesn’t taken into account what’s after happening to the business community these last six or seven years.
“Self-employed people have ended up with massive personal debt and a far smaller customer base. This legislation made no provision for the changing economy. It was written in a different time economically.”
Deputy Deasy also points to the “macro-economic policy issues arising from this revaluation process. In many cases businesses have come to me and said, ‘We’re going to have to leave people off if I have to pay this bill’. That has an effect on the State spend when it comes to unemployment benefits and so on.”
And he insisted: “Someone in Government needs to attempt to understand the implications of rates revaluation. The Government can’t wash their hands of a measure that has the potential to wipe out another chunk of the retail sector.”
::: Pictured are John Deasy, TD, and Cllr. Jim D'arcy, Mayor, with Kelly Proper who trains regularly at Waterford RSC. John Power Photography
John Deasy TD met with City Mayor, Cllr. Jim D'Arcy, and a number of representatives from Waterford athletics clubs at the RSC track recently, where the very poor surface condition was highlighted.
John Deasy has made representation to a number of relevant government departments, seeking funding to upgrade the track. Jim D'Arcy says that Waterford City Council, for its part, has done as much as it can to ensure that the track is improved. He says that a new MONDO track needs to be installed to bring the RSC to international athletics standards.
The RSC plays a huge role in athletics, both locally and regionally and Waterford City Council's grant application to the Sports Capital Programme is receiving support from John Foley, CEO of Athletics Ireland, Fintan Walsh, County Athletic PRO, and Brid Golden, Secretary and Head Coach of Ferrybank Athletic Club.
All those concerned point to the fact that there is currently unprecedented use of the facility at the RSC. Large numbers of people are becoming interested in walking and running as a means to becoming fit, as evidenced by the recent success of the Waterford Viking Marathon.
Waterford is also currently enjoying huge success at elite level in athletics. The current state of the track is potentially dangerous, with the result that serious athletes are being forced to travel all over Ireland to get top class competition, as neither the Munster nor the National body will allocate fixtures to the RSC.