22 separate projects earmarked for investment by Waterford Council in the wider Viking Triangle & Cultural Quarter areas.
Total investment in the region of €48.5 million.
Waterford Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has hailed the transformative investment of over €27.6 million for Waterford city under the second round of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund.
Senator Cummins who has championed the application by Waterford City and County Council from the outset said, “This second round of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) will see this government invest €27,661,564 million in twenty-two projects across the wider Viking Triangle and Cultural quarter areas. I have been working tirelessly for many months, lobbying Minister’s Burke and O’Brien at every opportunity to get this application over the line and I am absolutely delighted to see this further vote of confidence in our city on the back of the €110 million government allocation for the North Quays last November.
Launched by the Fine Gael-led government in November 2018 as part of Project Ireland 2040, the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund is about sensible, strategic and sustainable development that regenerates and rejuvenates our cities and large towns. By aligning with both the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan, the URDF focuses investment on infrastructure, including transport, housing and recreation, in a way that improves quality of life for all.
Speaking in the Seanad on the 17th December, Senator Cummins emphasised the importance of the project in the context of the projections for growth contained in Project Ireland 2040 and dismissed any suggestion that he was being parochial or greedy in seeking the full funding amount. “In total there are 22 separate projects earmarked for investment as part of the plan and I believe it is an excellent project that deserves the backing and support of government. And before anyone says that I am being parochial or greedy given the significant support that Waterford has already received from the URDF, I make no apologies because as I have said before, the litmus test for Project Ireland 2040 will be the successful development of Waterford city as the key economic driver for the South East”.
In response Leader of Seanad Eireann, Regina Doherty said “I don’t believe Senator Cummins that you are being blatantly political for fighting for your city in the Seanad. The news about the North Quays is wonderful. It would be equally wonderful and, indeed, a full circle to provide what could be a state-of-the-art project for the development of the south east, if the Viking Triangle and Cultural Quarter was successful…..As the Senator so eloquently described it, I can visualise how it will look if he is successful and I wish him every success in the new year”.
Senator Cummins said “Today is a further watershed day and again demonstrates the governments commitment to Waterford in the context of Project Ireland 2040. Waterford City and County Council received every cent of funding they requested of government and in reality the state investment will be far in excess of €27.6 because a number of the projects contained in the plan are housing related which will be 100% funded via the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, while other projects will be able to attract private and other state agency support.
Under the high level plan Waterford City & County Council expect to spend nearly €12 million on seven projects in the wider Viking Triangle area including the creation of a new “Friary Precinct” which would ‘complete and compliment’ the excellent work that has been undertaken in the area over the past decade. Senator Cummins said “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 the wider Cultural Quarter area Waterford City & County Council expect to spend €36.6 million on fifteen projects including “the creation of an upgraded shared space along O’Connell Street linking the whiskey distillery to the city centre; the creation of two new plaza areas on the entrance into the city over Rice Bridge and surrounding the Beech Tower; 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 and the provision of much needed city centre housing with the redevelopment of the Clarendon Court apartment complex”
Senator Cummins concluded by saying “this is a really ambitious regeneration project for Waterford City Centre and I would like to commend the team at Waterford City & County Council for their vision and for their collaborative work with groups like the Cultural Quarter Steering Committee which I was proud to be a member of until my election to the Seanad”
“While the North Quays is a fantastic project that will have a transformative effect on our entire county and region, as politicians we can never rest on our laurels and say that’s the job done, we must always look to the next project. That is exactly what I have done in championing and lobbying for this application. As someone who lives in the city centre, the regeneration of derelict and under-utilised buildings associated with this application is something I feel all Waterford people can buy into. I firmly believe that making Waterford the best place to live, work and grow old in is an attainable goal and this funding will assist in delivering that vision.