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Modular Family Hub planned for Westside in bid to deal with emergency accommodation crisis



Galway Bay fm newsroom – A modular family hub is to become operational in Westside in September in a bid to deal with the city council’s emergency housing crisis.

The 15 prefabricated units will be a mix of two and three bedroom and will have a life-span of five years, with officials hoping to wind them down in three years as other further longer term housing solutions become available.

At a special meeting at City Hall this afternoon, the CEO Brendan McGrath said he used emergency powers to move forward with the plan in order to deal with the crisis in housing supply.

The hub to be located at a site behind Westside library will have 24 hour onsite management provided by the Peter McVerry Trust.

It will have 15 accommodation units of 50 to 70 square metres in size, with two service units for office accommodation and meeting rooms and a small play area.

It’s being rolled out as part of a pilot scheme at a cost of two million euro, which will be funded by the department.

Enabling works are due to commence on the site in the coming weeks.

Occupants will sign a licensing agreement with the Peter McVerry Trust and will stay for a three month period, or a maximum limit of six months as they seek longer term accommodation.

Officials stressed the modular family hub is a temporary provision for a five year period only.

While all councillors acknowledged the housing crisis, many raised various concerns over the use of executive powers, the level of consultation with local area councillors and the public, zoning, access and the duration the modular build will be in place.

The use of executive powers generated much debate in the chamber with many councillors raising concerns over the level of notice and consultation regarding the plan.

Independent councillor Mike Cubbard asked if there had been any consultation with adjacent residents and businesses and queried if the plan is temporary.

He put forward a motion that a workshop be held in Westside community centre to discuss the plan, and received backing from 11 councillors.

Fine Gael councillor Pearce Flannery welcomed the plan and said it was a stop-gap or a stepping stone and while it is not a solution to the problem, it will alleviate some of the misery homeless families face who have to live in hotels and guesthouses.
His motion that councillors support modular housing as a temporary solution instead of hotels and B&Bs was passed with the backing of 8 members.

Fianna Fail councillor Peter Keane said while it was not the silver bullet, the entire focus needs to be on the homeless families who find themselves in the worst possible depair.

The meeting also heard that former guesthouse Corrib Haven in Upper Newcastle is to open as emergency accommodation in May providing 12 family units.

307 adults and 98 children are currently accessing emergency accommodation in the city at hotels and guesthouses.

Officials advised the local authority spent 20 thousand euro on emergency accommodation in October 2015 compared to 250 thousand euro in January.

A report presented on the Modular Family Hub revealed 2.4 million euro was spent in emergency accommodation in 2018 and this is projected to reach 3.5 million euro in 2019.

The meeting continues.

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216 submissions received on public realm enhancement proposal for Market Square in Athenry



Galway Bay fm newsroom – 216 submissions have been received in relation to the proposal to enhance Market Square in Athenry.

The Market Square public realm enhancement project opened for public submissions last month.

It sets out to reimagine the town centre by investing in what is described as “quality of life and quality of experience”.

Six options have been put forward by Galway County Council as part of the preliminary design stage.

These include options for the pedestrianisation of Davis Street and Burke’s Lane after 11am and the creation of a public plaza.

The public consultation will feed in to the overall analysis of all the options to determine the preferred option.

This will be carried out by the appointed consultants LUC and should be determined in the coming weeks.

Athenry Traders Group, which represents over 80 businesses in Athenry, says it’s deeply unhappy with the six options presented and argues the document goes directly against their submission.

The campaigners have highlighted their vision to include a town that is pedestrian and cyclist friendly and also open to slow moving traffic following the examples of Castlebar and Westport.

The group has raised concerns over a range of issues including the pedestrianisation of the town centre, the consideration of a new plaza area at Market Square and the alleged lack of sufficient disability access.

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Funding allocated to cover just 28 of 237 local road improvement applications in Galway



Galway Bay fm newsroom – Funding has been allocated for just 28 out of 237 local road improvement applications in county Galway.

That’s according to Galway East TD Sean Canney who says the Government must urgently increase LIS funding to deal with the scale of applications in the county.

It comes as the County Council has received 237 valid applications at a total estimated cost of €10.8 million.

However this year the Local Authority was only able to allocate roughly €900,000 which equates to approximately 28 minor road improvement schemes.

LIS provides funding for improvement works on small roads and laneways in rural areas which are not maintained by Local Authorities and provide access to people’s homes and farms or to amenities such as lakes, rivers or beaches.

Deputy Canney argues the funding for county Galway represents less than 10% of the amount needed.

He says the Government must intervene and address the shortfall.

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Breaking News

294 new cases of Covid-19 nationwide



Galway Bay fm newsroom – Health officials have confirmed 294 new cases of Covid-19 here.

39 patients are currently in hospital with the virus, down 14 in 24 hours.

It’s the lowest number of Covid patients in hospital since September 1st.

While 13 people are in ICU, unchanged on yesterday.

There are no local figures available due to continuing issues relating to the cyberattack on the HSE.

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