Cable car plan is for the birds

Dear Sir,

I was bemused by the headline last week’s The Munster Express reporting Councillor Gary Wyse’s call for the erection of a cable car from the Ard Rí site to the Quays in Waterford.

Initially I suspected this story had failed to make the April 1st edition but on mature reflection realised that the professional team in

‘The Munster’ would never make such a basic mistake!

This suggestion was made more interesting as it followed a piece recently by the same Councillor who suggested that objecting to proposed local developments was not to be encouraged, to say the least.

As someone who has followed local planning on both the North and South Quays of Waterford in the last number of years and has had some direct experience of how the local planners view development, some of the recent comments and suggestion border on the unbelievable.

My memory stretches back to the awards make several years ago by a former local Minister in his days in the Office of Public Works for a major development competition for plans for the North Quays.

The large financial awards resulted in a detailed plan to develop the North Quays and a scale model that, from memory, is now gathering dust in the Revenue offices in the Glen.

However, to remind Councillor Wyse, some local plans did include a footbridge from Ferrybank to Reginald’s Tower which if extended to include bicycles could now become a viable tourist feature at perhaps a lesser cost than that of a cable car?

As part of the existing planning legislation my memory also stretches back to the last Local Area Plans both for Kilkenny County Council and Waterford City Council.

I mention Kilkenny as a resident of Ferrybank as the process for both Councils was remarkably different.

The Kilkenny Local Area Plan was put out for public comment and in this area attracted a large attendance at the local meeting and significant public debate.

Compare this to the Waterford Local Area Plan which by comparison was also put out for public comment yet, as I recall, attracted limited local interest.

Considering the Waterford LAP finally included ‘viewing corridors’ from Ferrybank, this part alone probably marked the end of any realistic development on the North Quays for the duration of the Plan from Waterford City Council’s perspective.

Obviously the recent welcome screening of the Ard Rí site was the exception to this although a largely unplanned event due to circumstances.

If Councillor Wyse is suggesting that time has come to ‘think outside the box’ perhaps it would make more sense for future planned developments north of the Suir to be handled exclusively by Kilkenny County Council and those south of the Suir only by Waterford City Council?

At a minimum this would avoid the need for duplicate planning applications (a feature I believe of the recent Little Sisters Development in Ferrybank) but also allow both Councils to concentrate on the areas where geographically they have supported development in the past?

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