Waterford City Council officials have been urged to look out their windows at the state of the former ESB building on the Mall and do something about it.
The Waterford Greens have written to City Manager Michael Walsh recommending that a “high-quality renovation” be carried out on the site soon as possible.
Spokesperson Brendan McCann says: “The site is surrounded by hoardings. There is moss and green mould on the flat roof and already one of the windows in the main building has been broken. If the ESB building becomes dilapidated it will create a bad impression for visitors to Waterford at this prominent location, which is only about a hundred yards away from Reginald’s Tower.”
Such an eyesore would also detract from the nearby Theatre Royal, Bishop’s Palace and City Hall, he says.
The Council is understood to have acquired the property by CPO in order to redevelop it as part of a proposed office district. However, “given the current economic climate, this may not happen for a number of years, so there is a real prospect of the ESB building lying idle for a long time yet, while becoming more and more derelict in appearance,” Mr McCann adds.
His party, whose leader is the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley, is proposing that the local authority “take immediate steps” to address the condition of the building
“The building is still in good condition but if more windows get broken and water gets in the renovation costs will escalate,” Mr McCann says.
“We understand that the City Council is currently paying for rented office space, so once the renovation is complete the City Council can move these offices into the ESB building and save money in the process.”
This would have the added benefit, he argues, of creating some much-needed employment in the short term, while a renovation project would also enable the sustainable re-use of existing building fabric and materials.
“There is much to be said of making a virtue out of necessity in this instance,” asserts Mr McCann, who cites the Government offices at the Glen as “an excellent example of how a building can be transformed by renovation. A similar treatment of the ESB building would brighten up the Mall, especially if the open area in front were to be developed as an attractive public plaza.”