THE newly formed Waterford City Tidy Towns Committee is aiming to win the overall national title within the next five years.
Speaking to the Waterford News & Star, Michael Garland said he hopes to use the pending Harvest Festival (September 6 to 8) to fully re-launch the city’s Tidy Towns engagement ahead of its application for the 2020 competition.
“The town is looking great, the flowers on display as part of ‘City In Bloom’ look fantastic – we’ve actually had €20,000 worth of flowers installed or planted around the city – and Summer In The City has been a great success,” he said.
“And during the Harvest Festival we’re going to look at increasing business participation and awareness of Tidy Towns. At the start of summer, we went out to businesses and asked them to take part in a competition, just down the main thoroughfare of the city, to keep their doorsteps clean and windows tidy and I think we’re going to revisit that with a launch during the Harvest Festival.”
He added: “Tommie Ryan (the Harvest Fesitval Director), has a sustainable policy as part of Harvest now regarding food and waste in terms of what they can use and aiming for everything to be recyclable, that’s come directly from Tidy Towns. So the idea of the relaunch is to try and get as many different businesses and organisations involved, so that we can create a better awareness of what’s going on in around Waterford in relation to Tidy Towns being around and how important it is that everyone plays their part. Under that Tidy Towns umbrella. I think if we can all get behind it, we can do so much of the stuff that independently we just can’t get done. Collectively, under that banner – it’s such a big brand – we can and ought to achieve huge things and if we do win the overall title, we’d be the only city ever to win it.”
The Tidy Towns Committee, said Mr Garland, has already made a welcome impact in its initial few months of work.
“I feel we’ve already achieved a huge amount,” he said. “We planted €300 worth of flowers on Spring Garden Alley on July 13, which was a very enjoyable, we’d a great turnout and it was great to see so many residents out, getting busy and doing their bit. We’re committing to a series of pilot initiatives this year which we hope will leave us in a position where we can say to people: this is what can be done in the next few years and we’d love as many of you as possible to play your part.”
Taking the City Centre Management Group, Waterford Tidy Towns and Waterford Chamber into account, Michael Garland hopes that enhanced lines of communication can be established regarding what’s been done across the city.
“We might come up with a hashtag like ‘better together’, ‘working together’, ‘as one’, something like that, to try and get the people of Waterford to well and truly fall back in love with the city. The developments on the North Quays and Michael Street are great but the heart of the city will remain that spine that runs through John Roberts Square and we need to make our city as attractive as possible.”
He continued: “With Brexit on the horizon, we need to be persuading people in the UK that Ireland needs to be their next destination in terms of tourism and hospitality. The Greenway is going to extend down The Quay and obviously into the North Quays and onto New Ross and we need Waterford city at the heart of the South East Greenway. People in Dublin are now 20 minutes closer to us due to the Enniscorthy Bypass and they’ll be 25 to 30 minutes closer when the New Ross Bypass and Bridge opens so we can get people from West, North and South Dublin quicker to us than ever before.
“There are huge opportunities ahead for us. I’ve always said and always believed that we need to collectively work together, and Tidy Towns represents a body through which so many positive developments and innovations can be channeled through.”