Wednesday 10 October 2007

Businesses call for group to drive progress in €2.4bn city development

BUSINESS leaders in Waterford have called for the establishment of a high-powered group to drive forward the city’s development over the next seven years.

The €2.4 billion Project 2014, launched last summer, is aimed at regenerating Waterford in the coming years.

According to Waterford Chamber president Andrew O’Neill, an “empowered gateway forum” is needed to deliver this project. “The formation of the forum is vital in the context of ensuring Waterford’s ability to realise its full potential and to capitalise on attracting business location opportunities over the course of the next seven years,” said Mr O’Neill.

Project 2014 plans for the city’s €2.7bn redevelopment were presented to a conference last week by city manager Paddy Power and included details of development for the Waterford’s North and South Quays; the development of “government” and “heritage” quarters in the city as well as investments in the arts, community, sports and recreation sectors including an €11m redevelopment of the Regional Sports Centre on the Cork Road.

Speaking about the city bypass in two years, Mr Power said: “It will remove traffic from the city centre. It is intended that planning will begin soon on a park and ride green bus route from Butlerstown to Waterford Port at Belview. Another such route will also be developed from the Dunmore Road.”

Peter Malone of the National Roads Authority cautioned it was now time for investors to “seize the day” in respect of opportunities the new motorway in 2010 will present.

He highlighted the need for organisations to “come together now in order to capitalise on the huge potential which Waterford’s developing infrastructure offers”.

The aims of a new group were announced. Chaired by Bausch & Lomb’s Frank O’Regan, the “Viking Triangle” initiative will see the creation of pedestrian only-areas in historic segments of the city. This development will also provide the potential to revive the residential character of the area, making it a more attractive to enhanced retail opportunities.

“It was planned,” said Frank O’Regan, “to transform Waterford’s unique historical and cultural heritage by 2014 when the city will celebrate the 1100th anniversary of its foundation.

“What we plan is a series of three museums based on 400 yards of streetscape which takes us from Waterford’s beginnings to Victorian times,” he said.

Irish Examiner

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