The €4 million made available to dredge the harbour in Dunmore East is “a critical infrastructural investment,” according to Deputy John Deasy.
The capital funding, a large proportion of the €14.63m allocated nationally by Marine Minister Simon Coveney last week, “will significantly assist fishermen and processors, as well as those involved in other marine activity such as vessel repair, with knock-on benefits for the services sector and the wider local community,” Mr Deasy said.
The Waterford Fine Gael TD has made numerous representations on the general development of the harbour in Dunmore. €450,000 was granted for a widening of the slipway at the West Wharf last year, in addition to a new wave wall pavilion, while the Minister has also confirmed funding of €220,000 for an extension of the State fishery harbour building. A major upgrade of the village’s water supply is also underway.
“The key thing though is the dredging,” Deputy Deasy stressed. “The harbour there hasn’t been dredged properly for 20 years and the build-up of mud and silt has got to the point that boats over a certain draught just aren’t able to get in to dock, particularly at spring tide.”
Acknowledging the campaigning role played by Cllr John Carey in highlighting this issue over the past decade, Mr Deasy added: “While the Department had recognised that major dredging was needed, it was a question of finding the money. The trick was extending the harbour maintenance programme budget, which was only around €7m for the whole country; and so the answer we kept getting was that there weren’t sufficient funds available.”
Arup, who were commissioned to provide consultancy services in November 2012, have had the tender documents in relation to the dredging contract — involving the removal of some 16-17,000 cubic metres of sediment from the harbour bed — ready to release for some time.
“I know from Minister Coveney’s office that the Department is anxious to proceed as soon as possible and the plan is to go straight to tender, with a view to having the dredging contract in place by early to mid summer,” Deputy Deasy added.
Meanwhile, a total of €468,000 has been allocated to Waterford under the Local Authority-owned harbours, piers and slipways programme arising from the recent storm damage. This comprises €315,000 for Boatstrand pier, €135,000 for the Tramore seawall, and €18,000 for the storm wall in Dunmore.
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.”
That's why I'm glad to see Minister Phil Hogan has finally released €90 million to kick start projects and investments around the country that have the required approvals in place.
Upcoming events associated with The Gathering and the tourism season generally are greatly dependent on LEADER assistance. I've been in regular contact with Waterford Leadership Partnership and have stressed the importance of sanctioning this funding as quickly as possible to officials in the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.