· Plans for €48.5 million investment in the wider Viking Triangle & Cultural Quarter areas
· 22 separate projects earmarked for investment by Waterford Council
Waterford City and County Council have sought €27,661,000 in their submission to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage under the Urban Regeneration & Development Fund. This is the same fund which the government committed €80.6 million towards the North Quays project last week. In their application Waterford City and County Council expect €20,888,000 in funding to come from other sources including other government departments.
During a commencement debate in Seanad Eireann on finalising the funding package for the North Quay’s, this exciting €48.5 million plan was highlighted. Addressing Minister of State Peter Burke, Senator Cummins said “while we are on the topic of Urban Regeneration I am wondering if a date has been set for the next tranche of funding under the URDF. I know there are councils across the country eagerly awaiting news on this, including my own council in Waterford who have a very ambitious application with your Department for a city centre project across the wider Viking Triangle & Cultural Quarter areas which I’m sure has scored well because it is very comprehensive in nature”.
Senator Cummins confirmed he has been working on trying to secure support for the application over the past number of months and that he expected the next tranche of the URDF to be announced by year end – “this is a hugely ambitious plan with twenty-two constituent projects so it maybe the case that it will have to be funded over a number of rounds of the URDF and naturally with the quantum of money that has been committed by government to Waterford for the North Quay’s it may reduce the level of support we get in the current round which is expected before the end of the year but just like the North Quay’s funding, I am working exceptionally hard in the background to ensure this project is supported”.
Senator Cummins who is a former member of the cultural quarter steering committee described the plan as ‘very exciting’ and singled out a number of projects that he would like to see expedited. “the creation of an upgraded shared space along O’Connell Street linking the whiskey distillery to the city centre has been mooted for a long time and must become a reality under this plan. It is an area of the city that has been neglected and needs serious attention, but it is also an area of the city with huge potential and that has started to be realised with the magnificent Municipal Art Gallery. Other projects like the ‘Gateway’ and ‘Beech Tower’ Plaza’s; the acquisition and renovation of the likes of 3/4 George’s Street and 25 O’Connell Street to be used for a productive innovation hub and creative arts studios is both ambitious and very exciting.”
He also cited the provision of city centre housing and the need for a resolution to the ‘Clarendon Court apartment complex saga. “This is something which I have been pursuing for well over two years, the Department have approved the acquisition of the complex and the council have been working on securing the units, many of which are caught up in legal difficulties. Many new housing units have been provided in recent times with the Buy and Renew scheme for Barker Place Apartment Complex and the Repair and Lease Scheme at No.10 O’Connell Street which has ensured more people are living in our city centre. I have no doubt that Waterford can become the most liveable city in Ireland”.
In terms of the plans for the wider Viking Triangle area, Senator Cummins said the creation of a new “Friary Precinct” would ‘complete and compliment’ the excellent work that has been undertaken in the area over the past decade. “There has been enormous investment in the Viking Triangle area over the past decade and it has transformed before our very eyes. Bailey’s New Street with the wonderful backdrop of Greyfriars and the Viking Sword is an amazing space but the plans to create a further plaza to the rear of Parade Quay linking it with Greyfriars is very clever. Not only would it provide fantastic city centre living and allow businesses to open on to the newly created ‘Friary Square', it would complete the area brilliantly. I’m also very excited about the potential of opening up full views of our city walls with a linear park along Spring Garden Alley. Such a development would be a great amenity for the residents and those who traverse the street on their way to and from the Apple Market area”.
In conclusion Senator Cummins said “this is a very innovative submission by Waterford City and County Council, and I would like to compliment all those who worked on creating the vision which is evident throughout the application. I will continue my work to ensure it gets the level of support required to see this vision become a reality”.