In the past few weeks we have been taking soundings on Waterford city given the pending local authority merger, the ongoing Quay roadworks, the state of our retail sector, parking costs, pedestrianisation etc.
There seems to be a rising concern on how the city is to go forward. Such concerns are being expressed by genuine men and women with the city’s best interests at heart and not the serial complainers that clog Joe Duffy’s ‘Liveline’ switchboard. These are people with a love of this city, who wish to see it positively progress.
The upwardly mobile shopper among us, who frequents our other ‘local’ cities – Cork and Kilkenny, tends to compare it with Waterford’s high level of shop vacancies, car parking costs and inner city traffic congestion. And these are issues which cannot be avoided.
Several retail initiatives instigated in recent months have undeniably helped matters in Waterford, particularly on Friday evenings this summer, and it’s welcome to see greater link-ups and improved communication levels between business proprietors and the local authority.
There’s a great level of goodwill out there towards Waterford, not just from people within the city but from the county and its surrounding hinterlands in South Kilkenny, South Tipperary and New Ross.
Many view it as their traditional location to shop, but the loss of Kellys, Benetton and other vacanices appears to have catalysed a further negative effect on sentiment.