The public bike rental scheme being rolled out for Galway City could be jeopardised because of objections to at least three of the docking stations.
Residents in Newcastle, Merchants Road and the Claddagh have raised concerns, if not serious objections, to the provision of docking stations for the scheme in their areas.
The docking station being provided on University Road has particularly irked local residents who claim it is taking away previous car parking spaces and last night a motion to stop work on that docking station was signed by a majority of city councillors at their meeting.
However, Chief Executive of the City Council, Brendan McGrath, warned councillors that asking the National Transport Authority (NTA) to take any of the docking stations out of the equation might put the whole scheme at risk.
Cllr Billy Cameron said that there had been no consultation whatsoever with local residents in the Newcastle area and the first people knew about the docking station was when work started on it on University Road.
Yesterday, work on laying electricity cables (the docking stations will be hooked up electronically to a pay system) continued.
Mr McGrath warned that to list three docking stations might be detrimental to the scheme, which was currently in phase one.
“If you defer this for two weeks to give me an opportunity to discuss the issues raised with the NTA … I have a number of other issues to discuss with them too including the maintainence of the scheme post-2016.
“I equally understand that we have to find something that will work for everyone. The placement of docking stations around the city is an integral part of the city bike scheme. Let me talk to our own staff here and to the NTA and I assure you that nothing will happen in the interim,” he promised.
Nineteen docking stations in all will be provided throughout the city to facilitate the bike scheme.
Read more in this week’s Connacht Sentinel
Galway to receive €1million in outdoor recreational funding
Taste of Galway at ‘Flavours of Ireland’
Some 60 tourism companies from Ireland attended ‘Flavours of Ireland’ 2022 in London last week – including Connemara Wild Escapes, DK Connemara Oysters and Killary Fjord Boat Tours.
‘Flavours’ is Tourism Ireland’s annual B2B tourism workshop, where tourism companies from Ireland meet and do business with top global inbound tour operators.
Now in its 20th year, ‘Flavours’ took place in the Guildhall, in the City of London, and was attended by around 100 global inbound tour operators who deliver business from all over the world, including the United States, Mainland Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa.
‘Flavours’ provides an excellent opportunity for the participating tourism providers from Galway and Ireland to highlight and sell their tourism product and build valuable relationships with the key decision-makers in attendance.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Planning Regulator wants Galway City Council U-turn on Development Plan
From the Galway City Tribune – The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has asked Galway City Council to roll back material alterations to the new City Development Plan proposed by councillors.
In July, elected members voted through a raft of changes to zonings in the Draft City Development Plan 2023-29, which went out on public display.
But the Planning Regulator has now warned City Hall that many of the proposed changes do not comply with the OPR’s recommendations, and are contrary to national planning guidelines.
The OPR specifically highlighted problems with proposals to rezone as residential land deemed at risk of flooding.
Anne Marie O’Connor, Deputy Regulator, wrote to the Council’s Planning Department outlining the OPR’s fresh advice on the changes to the draft plan proposed and approved by councillors.
The draft plan will come before elected members again this month.
Councillors will be asked to row back on some of their previous material alterations, which ran contrary to advice of the OPR.
Ms O’Connor said the OPR welcomed many of the changes made by the City Council in its draft plan. She said, however, that the OPR “has a number of outstanding concerns relating to the response of the planning authority to its recommendations and to a number of proposed material alterations relating to the zoning of lands”.
These relate to changes that conflict with national and regional objectives for compact growth; with legislative requirements regarding climate action and core strategies; and with rezoning land at risk of flooding.
The OPR highlighted a dozen or more material alterations by councillors that are “not consistent” with the National Planning Framework for compact growth.
These include re-zoning of land from agricultural or recreational and amenity to residential.
The changes voted on by councillors, the OPR noted, were done against the advice of the Council’s Chief Executive Brendan McGrath.
The OPR said the changes proposed by councillors represented a “piecemeal approach” to zoning and were “inconsistent” with national policy.
These comments related to proposed rezoning of land at Rahoon; Dublin Road; Quarry Road, Menlo; Ballindooley; off Circular Road; Menlo village; Roscam and Barna Woods.
The OPR also raised “significant concerns” over five material alterations proposed for residential zonings of land at Western Distributor Road; Terryland; Menlo Village; Headford Road and Barna Woods which are located within flood zones.
The approach by councillors “may place people and property at unnecessary risk from future flood events”, the OPR warned.
Ms O’Connor told planners that if the draft plan ignores the OPR advice or is at odds with its recommendations, the Council Chief Executive must inform the OPR in writing the reasons for doing so.
Save Roscam Peninsula in a 33-page submission to the draft plan echoed many of the concerns outlined by the OPR.
The Council has pencilled in four dates in November and December to approve the plan.
It will meet on November 21, 24 and 28 and December 1 when material alterations will be voted on individually.
This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune, November 4. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. The print edition is in shops every Friday.