Monday, July 13, 2020

The South East Greenway between Waterford and New Ross is expected to open in the early autumn of next year. Photo: South East Greenway/Twitter

The 22-kilometre Waterford to New Ross (South East) Greenway will cost €15 million to deliver, according to one of the project’s primary drivers, with the three relevant local authorities set to bridge the existing funding gap of €7m.

Speaking at the July meeting of the Piltown Municipal District in Ferrybank, Kilkenny County Council Economic Director of Services Sean McKeown said the estimated cost of the development 18 months ago came in at €13.5 million.

Since then, an €8 million grant from central government had been secured to help drive the project forward.

“However, given the accommodation works and detailed design that we now have, it’s fair to say that the construction costs are going to be closer to €15 million, so the funding gap is now in the order of around €7 million,” said Mr McKeown.

“But we’ve agreed a funding model in principle between the three local authorities (Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford) to bridge that gap. There’s a couple of other funding sources we have access to, including the (Kilkenny and Wexford) LEADER companies so the animation element of the delivery of the greenway is included in the €15 million…CIE will obviously provide some funding in relation to the structures that they’re responsible for before they hand it over so there’s another funding source. But it’s safe to say that the bulk of that €7 million shortfall will have to be funded by the local authorities.”

Replying to an initial query on funding from District Chair Eamon Aylward (FF), Mr McKeown added: “Nationally, through the CCMA (County and City Management Association), local authorities are making a plea to the parent department that given the current Covid-19 circumstances, that construction projects such as this greenway can act as an economic stimulus so we’ve asked them to give consideration to increasing the grant aid but that’s more in hope than expectation. But just to say that that is happening – but as I said, we’ve agreed in principle between the local authorities on a funding model and we’re just working out the legals on that.”

Mr McKeown concluded: “However, I’m happy that this has been fairly allocated between the three councils; this has been agreed between the three local authority Chief Executives. It’s going to be a challenge but we’re progressing and we’re confident that we can deliver.”

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