FOR the third year in a row, Waterford City has received a Purple Flag in recognition of its “achievements in helping people to have a great night out”. On April 5 this year, Purple Flag accessors visited the city – with clipboards in tow – to conduct a rigorous assessment of local businesses, hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Purple Flag is a town and city centre award – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches – which aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres in the evenings and at night. The scheme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) working alongside the Purple Flag Advisory Committee – a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by the Local Authority, Gardai, business and residents, as well as sponsors Diageo Great Britain. Purple Flag accredited towns and cities have proven that they are welcoming to everyone, offer safe ways for visitors to travel home after dark and provide a good mix of venues. Purple Flag towns and cities benefit from more visitors, lower crime and anti-social behaviour and improved perceptions of centres.
Waterford was assessed under a number of categories including safety, care, regulation, services, business partnership, customer perceptions, public transport and more. With regard to safety, the assessors noted that there was a “high level of Garda presence visible on the streets both in vehicles and on foot patrol in particular during the late night period” and there was a “significant investment in town centre CCTV system that is monitored 24/7 from Garda Station.”
With regard to services and public utilities, the assessors said that they were “very evident” with “well-maintained utilities including public footpaths, lighting and toilets; ample parking is available and easily accessible in the City Centre along the Marina”. It added that the “provision of a new bus service by the NTA and Bus Eireann in December 2018 is key to the delivery of an enhanced citywide transport system.”
The assessors also noted that Waterford had “a good variety of pubs, hotel, coffee bars and licensed food establishments which offer more than just traditional adult orientated pub venues.”
Waterford scored “above standard” in 27/31 categories, scoring an excellent in partnership, where they said that, “Partnership is very evident from the many key stakeholders that participate in the Purple Flag Steering Group; there is a fusion between the public, private and the voluntary sectors to enhance Waterford making it a leading destination for both business investment and a leading tourist destination.”
Eric O’Brien, Purple Flag Co-ordinator for Waterford, said that they were delighted to regain the award.
“This is a recognition of our dedicated efforts and investment in the creation and enhancement of our evening and night-time economy,” Eric said. “We are very proud to fly the Purple Flag, reflecting the strength of ongoing partnerships and engagement activities with all key stakeholders. This was very much a team effort and we will promote the Purple Flag, using it as a stepping stone in our continuing development of a vibrant evening and night-time environment which is safe and well managed.”
Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber was encouraged by the feedback in the assessors report.
“We are all working with the end goal of creating what is best for Waterford and in order to do that we are asking the business community to support us in supporting you,” Gerald said. “Working together, we can drive Waterford forward, create sustainable jobs, spend more money locally and ultimately grow our businesses and economy for the betterment of all.”
Waterford will officially be awarded our Purple Flag at a gala event in Camden Town, London on June 25, 2019.