THE positive advancement of the €400 million North Quays project was universally welcomed by South Kilkenny Councillors at the January meeting of the Piltown Municipal District, held yesterday.
The Government’s approval of Urban Regeneration Development Funding (URDF) to the tune of €80.6 million last November, in addition to €30m via the National Transport Authority (NTA) has seen the project develop significant momentum.
Economic Director of Services Sean McKeown told the meeting that the funding “gives the project full security now as it goes forward and includes the four Kilkenny-based projects that comprise the overall SDZ (Strategic Development Zone) development, which formed part of Waterford (City & County Council’s) URDF application”.
Mr McKeown said that the detailed design for the Sustainable Transport Bridge, Transport Hub and Access Infrastructure Works “are currently being finalised and it’s hoped that they’ll be issued early this year, which will form part of the main contract works that are due to go to tender in April of this year”.
Detailed design drawings for tender documentation for the relocation of the pump station are being finalised for issue this month. Meanwhile, a tender for both rock stabilisation works on the cliff face north of Plunkett Railway Station and for enabling works on the South Plaza (Clock Tower area) is due to be issued next month.
Mr McKeown added: “The preparation of a planning application for flood defence works is currently being progressed, to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála by April 2021 and detailed design for two of the Kilkenny-based projects, the Belmont Link Road along with the Abbey Road and Belmont Road sustainable transport improvements, they’ll progress early this year.”
BDO Ireland is currently finalising a financial evaluation regarding the top five tenderers that have been shortlisted for the project’s main contract, all of which will be invited to Stage 2 of the Restricted Tender process.
Mr McKeown added: “And in terms of advanced contracts and enabling works, the Utility Diversion Works Contract and Demolition and Site Clearance Works contract are now both substantially complete.”
District Chair, Cllr Eamon Aylward (FF), who met with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien (FF) on the North Quays site during his pre-Christmas visit, said: “It’s great that these funding is coming and it shows what can be achieved when local authorities work together.”
Cllr Pat Dunphy (FG) welcomed the project’s recent progress, stating: “It’s starting to gather pace now, which is fantastic news and it just goes to show what happens when you have co-operation between the two councils, which I hope will remain in place into the future.”
Cllr Tomás Breathnach (Lab) stated: “It’s worth reminding ourselves that this is the largest publicly funded urban regeneration project in the country, which underlines how significant it is and what it will mean for the region.”
The Piltown Municipal District is attempting to reconvene quarterly meetings with the Waterford Metropolitan District given the significant cross-boundary works that will soon be in train in Ferrybank.