Last weekend there was a great turnout for the Skyfest fireworks display and musical gig by Kila, an Irish traditional and rock group, on the Quays.
The event which was televised nationwide showed the brighter side of Waterford at a time of economic gloom. It showed a great willingness of people to come into the city centre and enjoy themselves. Can we have large crowds coming to the city centre more often?
One of the deterrents in the past has been traffic congestion. This was not a problem lat Saturday, where the traffic management system seemed to cope, we arrived in the city just after 7pm and were parked and on the quay within 15 minutes from the Ballybricken side.
Another deterrent noted by people is the cost of parking. Back at Christmas time, the Waterford Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign to shop in Waterford, with free parking later in the evening. This worked really well.
Given the tough trading conditions, car park owners will need to look again at other initiatives in the future.
Councillor John Halligan spoke in our weekend edition of the need to do more for shoppers on Friday and Saturday and get them into the city by providing free parking. His solution may affect car park owners’ revenues but if there are continuous falls in trade then that is a loss too.
Is it time for the Chamber of Commerce and City Council to consider new plans to boost trade. Parking costs in the city centre are one of the reasons that people go suburban shopping more, noted Councillor Halligan, who is very concerned about jobs.
The City Council has budgeted for some much needed revenue from on-street parking. Is it time to revisit that again? Free parking on the street on Saturday would be great.
In shops they are trying all sorts of offers to attract people. If there was discount parking on Saturdays and late on Fridays could that not be a great boost to trade.
The city is really suffering from the short-time working on the industrial estate, incomes are down and any way of boosting trade should be considered. More marketing to shop in Waterford City needs to be pushed.
The shop local mantra needs to be maintained and boosted by trader initiatives. It was great to see so many in the city centre last Saturday night.
How about a new parking plan for the coming year, with the City Council behind it? It seems well worth a go.