The 2.9 acre Bolton Street/Catherine Street site purchased by the Office of Public Works (OPW) as part of the Government’s decentralisation scheme is due to open in 2010.

At Monday’s meeting of Waterford City Council, Director of Services Fergus Galvin confirmed that the deal for the site had been finalised and that it was now moving to design stage.

But Councillor Davy Daniels wasn’t pleased with the timescale that has been outlined for the project.

“The whole decentralisation scheme has been put on the long finger,” he said. “And that we’re now being told that the programme won’t be delivered until 2010 is outrageous.”

Speaking in the Dáil last October, Environment Minister John Gormley told Waterford TD Brian O’Shea that 225 of his staff should be relocated to the city by the third quarter of 2010.

The new offices will form part of a larger mixed development on the site, with construction due to commence in the coming months.

A total of 682 positions are due to be decentralised from the Department of the Environment to offices in Waterford, Kilkenny, New Ross and Wexford.

Meanwhile, City Manager Michael Walsh has assured Councillors that the timescale for works on Waterford’s decentralisation project will not affect plans for the construction of a new fire station.

Responding to a query from Cllr Cha O’Neill, Mr Walsh said he anticipated that work would begin on the Ballybeg/Kilbarry site “in the summer”.

The current station is situated on Catherine Street, which forms part of the OPW/mixed development site.