A further commitment on Government funding for the North Quays project is pending, according to Senator Paudie Coffey (FG), who hopes that such news will allay some of the post-Christmas fears that have been expressed locally about the project.
Speaking to The Munster Express on Monday, Senator Coffey said that such an announcement will be made “shortly”, coming in the wake of meetings he has held with both the Finance and Housing Ministers.
Legal representatives of Falcon Real Estate Development Ireland Ltd have told Senator Paudie Coffey that the North Quay project is "still on track".
Senator Coffey, in addition to Minister of State John Halligan and Waterford City & County Council Chief Executive Michael Walsh, recently met with Eoghan Murphy to discuss the project. “A second call for (Urban Regeneration and Development) funding will be made over the next few weeks…so taking that into account, I can confirm that a further tranche of Government funding will be announced shortly, in addition to the €6 million that has already been committed to when it comes to getting this landmark project up and running.”
In terms of a timeframe, it’s believed that the announcement is more likely to be made within months as opposed to weeks.
“There’s been a call for more certainty about the development and I can understand that,” said Senator Coffey, “and a letter of confirmation in relation to Government’s commitment to the project was received by the City & County Council two to three weeks ago.” Senator Coffey added: “Without going over old ground too much, the North Quay site is a Strategic Development Zone and has been identified as a prioritised project for Waterford under Project Ireland 2040 (the National Development Plan). Ultimately, once everything that has to be addressed in relation to the project meets the satisfaction of the Council and the private investors (represented by Falcon Real Estate Development Ireland Ltd), then the project will proceed from there. And having met with some of the investor’s legal representatives in the past few weeks, the have assured me of their ongoing commitment to the project, which they told me is still on track.”
Meanwhile, the Steering Group established by Waterford City & County Council to assist in the delivery of the city centre project has formally met three times this year already. Briefing South Kilkenny Councillors on the group’s work on February 6th, Kilkenny County Council Director of Services Sean McKeown (who also sits on the body) said the group recently met with Department of Housing officials to discuss the URDF application.
While the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the SDZ has been completed, an additional small section of land east of Frank Cassin Wharf is to be CPO’d, the details of which were published on January 29th. Mr McKeown also confirmed that a website specific to the North Quays SDZ is being finalised by the City & County Council, “which will also act as a communication tool for the regeneration of the North Quays, and will provide regular updates on the development as it progresses”. He added: “Steady progress is being made, and we will be updating (South Kilkenny) Councillors regularly on this matter, but we shouldn’t expect the reports I will issue to this (Piltown Municipal District) meeting to change enormously.
As I said, there is steady and welcome progress being made but this is work which has to be carefully done at the same time.”
A further update on the SDZ is due to be made to Councillors at the next joint meeting of the Waterford Metropolitan and Piltown Municipal Districts, which is due to be held on Wednesday next, March 6th.