WATERFORD’S William Vincent Wallace Plaza is no longer in demand as a venue for hosting events, according to Waterford City & County Council.
Councillors have been told that the popularity of other city centre locations means the Plaza is no longer sought after by performing groups.
Speaking at the December Metropolitan District meeting of Waterford City & County Council, Cllr Joe Kelly (Ind) said the Plaza area currently looks “very sad and unused”.
“There seems to be a turn away from the Plaza as a venue for concerts and events,” said Cllr Kelly who recalled when various events took place and the area was “lively”.
“Now it’s looking worse for wear,” he said. “It’s not maintained well and there’s no activity.”
Cllr Kelly asked if there had been a change of policy on the Council’s part in relation to the use of the area. “Is there a view that we don’t need the Plaza now that we have the Viking Triangle and the Apple Market?”
Cllr Cha O’Neill (Ind) supported Cllr Kelly’s comments and outlined his views on the Plaza.
After inquiring recently about the lack of use of the Plaza, he said he was disappointed to be told that it is not seen as the ‘in’ place to be.
Cllr O’Neill said it would be “disgraceful” if groups which receive assistance from the Council are refusing to use the Plaza.
In response, Senior Executive Officer Billy Duggan said areas such as John Roberts Square, Cathedral Square, the Viking Triangle and the Apple Market are now the most sought after areas for events and that there are “very few requests” to use the Plaza.
Mr Duggan said that ample facilities are in place at the Plaza but there is little demand.
“A few years ago, everyone wanted to be on the Plaza,” he said.
Cllr Kelly asked if this would mean that the Council will not be maintaining the area.
Mr Duggan acknowledged that the area needs maintenance and said he would pass on the comments.
The issue had also been raised at the previous Metropolitan District meeting when Cllr O’Neill described the area as a “forgotten part of the city”.
“We have to do something with it as it’s gone beyond a joke,” he said.
Cllr O’Neill, who was speaking during a discussion on Waterford’s Winterval festival, suggested that there is an opportunity to light up the area.
He also suggested fairy lighting for the marina which he said “would make a hell of a difference”, pointing out the positive impact which this would make on visitors entering Waterford.
Cllr O’Neill, who described the new ‘Waterford Eye’ as “superb”, has often highlighted the need for increased festive lighting in Waterford and has continually praised the lighting on display in Dungarvan.
In response, Winterval Festival Director Lisa Grant explained that the upcoming ‘Patterns of Light’ event will see the Plaza lit up (see Encore 2 for more).
The event, which takes place from December 15th to 17th, is an interactive event which is spearheaded by the team behind Waterford Walls.
Visitors to the installation on the Plaza will be given the opportunity to create their own unique ‘Pattern of Light’ on the underside of the Plaza canopy.
Organisers say that users will be encouraged to utilise a diverse array of patterns, textures and particles to show the world who they are.
Lisa Grant said that this is an event which could be “expanded” in the future depending on its success.