Launched last June, the ‘Waterford Bright Ideas’ campaign is seeking the views of the people of the city and county on arguably the biggest question of the day: how can we get our economy back on track?
Not only that, but the campaign contains both a civic and social element, two strands which its organisers believe are inextricably linked with the long-term economic vision for Waterford.
“Waterford’s best asset is, and always has been, its people,” said Liam Dunne of E-Drive Solutions, who co-founded the initiative with Cian Foley of UTD Web Design.
“So in our minds it stood to reason that they should be asked about what they would like to see developing in our city and county.
“While industries and companies come and, unfortunately go, the people, our economy’s single greatest long-term investment, remain and we’ve been bowled over by the response that we’ve got from the public since June.”
Suggestions and ideas numbering in their hundreds have been flowing into the campaign inbox since early summer, with the best of those ideas recently presented to Mayor John Halligan and Waterford Chamber CEO Michael Garland.
The collated ideas were divided into seven categories, namely tourism, entertainment (festivals and sport), presentation (tidiness), business (retail and planning), education, environment and traffic (road infrastructure).
Among the litany of suggestions were:
* The installation of a canopy over George’s Street and Michael Street to promote year-round shopping, outdoor cafes and a revival of night life in the heart of the city
* The return of the mart to Ballybricken as part of the Waterford Food Festival
* An expansion of the city’s Marina which could potentially create riverside/boardwalk entertainment
* An enhanced tourist trail of the city, a Comeragh Mountains visitor centre and a greater highlighting of the unique design and history of Portlaw
* The installation of an iconic flag pole and festival to commemorate the first public flying of the Irish Tricolour on The Mall
* An 02 style-arena on the North Quays seating 5,000 people and a Disney-style theme park for Tramore, as well as
* A spectacular monument on the cliff face of Mount Misery (next to Plunkett Railway Station), availing of Waterford’s unique natural entry point.
Both Mayor Halligan and Mr Garland thanked Liam and Cian, as well as those who had contributed to the campaign, for embracing the “spirit of collaboration” which Waterford needs during these recessionary times.
“We really want to thank everyone who submitted a positive idea,” Liam added.
“We believe this campaign represents an extremely positive development and it demonstrates the pride so many of us have in Waterford and the hopes we have for the future.
“Every success starts with a bright and sometimes simple idea.
“We hope that the torch lit by the public through this campaign will now be carried forward by local government and business representatives and that many of the brilliant ideas generated by this campaign can and will be realised.”
Ideas can still be submitted to www.upthedeise.com/brightideas