IN the order of €2.6m in active travel funding is needed complete a number of shovel ready projects in the Comeragh District, but Councillors have been warned that funding is likely to be cut under the stream.
Referencing an email received from CEO Michael Walsh regarding funding for active travel measures, Cllr Declan Clune (Ind) expressed a concern about a reduction in funding and asked for a comparison between works planned versus the budget expected.
“Is there anything that we have currently in our work plan that might be affected by this and more importantly can you tell us about what won’t be affected,” he asked. He said a cut in funding would be potentially devastating, given the amount of work that had gone into the projects.
Cathaoirleach of the Comeragh District Cllr Liam Brazil (FG) also said they were told that funding is going to be cut under the active travel scheme.
Senior Engineer for Roads, Gabriel Hynes confirmed the allocation requested for the Comeragh District from the NTA was €2.6m. That would allow the Council to progress with the Carrick Road project, the High Road in Kilmeaden, Dunhill, footpath replacement in Portlaw and Brown Street.
All the projects are ready to go, with some started and tenders in other cases. However, with the Council awaiting news on the allocation from the NTA, Mr Hynes warned that if they don’t get that amount projects are likely to be shelved.
“We certainly won’t be in a position to do all those projects. In particular I’m talking about the Carrick Road, the Old Kilmeaden Road and Dunhill will have to be postponed.”
Noting that a number of Section 8s had been passed for these projects over the last 12 months and with tenders going out he said they are ready to start, but until the allocation was made known he couldn’t confirm what would go ahead. He said anything that the Councillors could do politically to ensure the target is met would be appreciated.
Mayor of Waterford, Cllr John O’Leary (FF) expressed that it will be “devastating news and a retrograde step” and something unacceptable if the money isn’t allocated. The reason being Section 8’s have been passed for Kilmeaden for €750,000, Portlaw €500,000 and Dunhill in the region of €400,000. He added that the money is likely to be spent elsewhere if not given to the Comeragh District.
“The works to be carried out in the Comeragh District will make the roads safer for our constituents,” he added. With that in mind, he contacted Deputy Mary Butler (FF) to fast track the issue to the Minister for Transport to ensure the money comes through.
“It is out there in the public domain that this money is almost agreed. There will be some egg on our faces as local district councillors if there is a rebuttal of this.”
Agreeing with Cllr O’Leary, Cllr Seanie Power (FG) felt it was vital that the projects go ahead.
Cllr Brazil added that if what he was led to believe was true, the money being cut from the Comeragh region was likely to be spent on bigger projects, like the North Quays. “I’m not going to stand to see our money being taken away and put into the bigger regions,” he warned.