Funding for a number of previously announced projects in Waterford was ring-fenced last week in the Government’s Capital Investment Programme (2016-2021).
A total of €42 billion in investment capital was announced by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin last Wednesday, with an additional €14.5bn coming from commercial semi-states and €500m from public-private partnerships.
Amongst the projects in Waterford to receive a financial commitment was a €1.5 million allocation towards the Michael Street/ Apple Market urban regeneration project.
The three three-year revamp will result in public transport being centred on Arundel Square, while the Apple Market will be transformed with a glass and mirrored stainless steel roof covering a daytime market and night-time entertainment site.
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has already been confirmed €4million for this project. Waterford Council is providing another €4million and the total cost has been estimated at around €9 million.
Also contained in the Capital Programme is a €17 million commitment towards the construction of a long-awaited 100-bed Community Nursing Unit on the grounds of St Patrick’s Hospital. This project was first promised in the 2009 HSE South Service Plan.
Former Worker’s Party councillor Davy Walsh is one of a core group of 25 protestors who have picketed outside St Patrick’s Hospital at lunchtime every Tuesday for the past eight years over delays in constructing the unit.
He tentatively welcomed the promised funding and said the announcement was ‘some step’ towards securing the unit but noted that planning permission had not yet been sought and there is still ‘a long way to go’.
Last Wednesday’s Capital Investment Programme also made reference to a €30 million ‘investment’ announced for Waterford’s North Quays in June. This project is set to include the construction of two new office blocks, a multi-storey car park the extension of the railway line, along with a new railway station on the North Quay, flood defence works and the building of a 250-metre, navigation-friendly pedestrian bridge connecting the site to the Clock Tower.
The Capital Programme made no specific financial commitment to this project. “There are also proposals to develop and regenerate Waterford City North Quays to support jobs and tourism in the region”, it read. “Support will be provided under this Exchequer Programme for this development when details are finalised.”