The City Council has been urged to employ local builders in the construction of its new fire service headquarters at Ballybeg.

The planning process for the new three storey station, to be built at the junction of the Kilbarry Road and Ballybeg Drive, was completed at the local authority’s monthly meeting on Monday night and the proposed project is now to proceed to tender.

At the meeting, a number of councillors asked that local construction firms be given preference when the tendering process got underway. Cllr Cha O’Neill called on the Council to ‘leave Waterford building to Waterford people’, while Cllr Tom Cunningham said it was important to ‘support our own’. He noted that construction firms had been employing WIT graduates for many years, adding that the Council should ‘resist the bottom line as the only arbitrator in the tendering process’.

The 2187 sq m building includes a drill yard and training area, as well as 10 fire appliance bays, a watch room, muster bays, dormitories, offices, a canteen and recreational rooms, as well as a lecture theatre. The public entrance will be via Kilbarry Road, with the staff entrance on Ballybeg Drive.

Meanwhile, the City Council is to seek a meeting with the IDA, FAS and Enterprise Ireland in a bid to create new jobs in the region. At Monday night’s meeting, Cllr Semus Ryan said the city and region was haemorhaging jobs and called on the Council to work with the external agencies to see what could be done.

Cllr Davy Cullinane said practical steps needed to be taken, while Cllr Tom Cunningham suggested the retail committee of the Chamber of Commerce also be involved, since the retail sector was one of the city’s largest employers.