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CITY TRIBUNE

Progress slow on replacement of Black Box

Stephen Corrigan

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The development of a multi-million euro ‘cultural hub’ on the Dyke Road has been slowed down by the “matrix of legislation and strategies” to which Galway City Council must adhere.

That’s according to a spokesperson for the local authority who said this “significant cultural development” would be a lasting legacy of the city’s successful European Capital of Culture bid.

Plans for the site include the demolition of the ‘past its sell-by date’ Black Box Theatre – replacing it with a performance space to cater for 1,200 seated occupants.

“This is a significant cultural development on this site which would include a cultural building to allow for the replacement of the Black Box but also incorporate a visual arts space and a production administration space,” said the Council spokesperson.

Plans for the area have been under consideration since Galway achieved the designation as European Capital of Culture 2020 last summer.

However, the spokesperson for the council said progress has been slow due to the strict process the Council must follow before seeking expressions of interest – but confirmed that it is their intention to do so in the last quarter of 2017.

“The difficulty we have is that this is a huge and complicated procurement process – Galway City Council will formally proceed with calling for expressions of interest before year end.

“It has been delayed by onerous obligations for due diligence under the procurement processes,” he said.

There are several factors affecting the pace of the process including its potential impact on the Galway Transportation Strategy, the City Development Plan and environmental concerns – this due to its location adjacent to the Corrib.

The construction of this facility would mean the loss of some of the approximate 540 spaces that make up the largest City Council-owned carpark on the Dyke Road.

Car parking fines and fees are a major source of income for City Hall and bring in over €4 million per annum.

However, it is planned that a new multi-level carpark will maintain, and possibly increase, the number of spaces.

The Council spokesperson confirmed that the original plans had not changed and that both the construction of the cultural facility and the carpark were part of a single project.

“We are looking at the entire site as a whole,” he said.

Councillor, Pádraig Conneely, Chairperson of the Arts and Culture SPC in Galway City Council, welcomed the fact that expressions of interest were to be sought this year and said he had no doubt that this would attract a considerable response.

“I am confident that there will be a big take-up and that reputable and good companies will come forward.

“I have no doubt that there will be many expressions of interest – this is a major project for the city and it will create a lot of employment.

“The Dyke Road and that general area needs to be upgraded and this will be a good project and very worthwhile for the city,” added the Fine Gael councillor.

CITY TRIBUNE

WATCH: The Olivers to the rescue … again!

Enda Cunningham

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Father and son rescue team Patrick and Morgan Oliver were back in action in Salthill this morning, when they helped a swimmer who got into difficulty.

A member of the public raised the alarm at around 10.30am and the Coastguard sought the assistance of Galway Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks.

Two members of the lifeboat shore crew made their way to the promenade to assist in the rescue.

Patrick and Morgan Oliver were fishing off Salthill at the time and spotted the man taking refuge on Palmers Rock about 200 metres from Salthill shore. They took him on board their fishing boat and brought him back to Galway Docks. Galway Lifeboat in the meantime was stood down. 

The man was taken into the Lifeboat station where he received treatment for symptoms of hypothermia until an ambulance arrived.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Assurances given on progress of road, bridge and bus projects

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It will take time and a lot of money, but the city’s network of major transport projects will proceed on schedule – that was the assurance given this week to councillors by City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath.

Councillors had expressed concerns at their meeting on Monday about the slow rate of progress being made with major capital projects including two new pedestrian bridges over the River Corrib.

However, Brendan McGrath told the meeting that the timelines for the range of capital transport projects – while challenging – were reasonable, pragmatic and achievable.

“All of the projects are moving forward but we must adhere to all the procedures and the different stages that have to be complied with: we have no choice in that,” said Brendan McGrath.

Senior City Council Engineer, Uinsinn Finn, in reply to a number of queries about potential new bus routes, said that while the Council worked closely with Bus Éireann and the bus companies, the local authority didn’t decide on the routes.

Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Peter Keane (FF), asked ‘how it could take 63 months’ to deliver a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Corrib even though the piers (old Corrib Railway Line) were already in place for the project.

“How can it take over five years to put a bridge like this over the Corrib,” he asked, after hearing that this €11 million Greenways-linked project would not be completed until 2026.

There is a snappier timescale for the Salmon Weir Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge – to be located adjacent to the existing structure on the southern side – with planning consent expected by next Summer and a completion date set for the end of 2022.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council removes ‘shop local’ signage despite agreement with Latin Quarter

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Signage promoting a ‘eat, drink and shop local’ campaign, erected by a local business group, was removed by the Galway City Council – despite an understanding that permission had been granted.

The bilingual signage was placed on a number of solar compactor bins and bollard-control boxes in the city centre by the Latin Quarter business group, in an attempt to promote local businesses grappling with the effects of Covid-19.

A source in the group told the Galway City Tribune that the signage cost around €3,500 and that permission to erect it had been given by a ‘senior Council official’.

The signs were put up in mid-October but only lasted around two weeks when City Hall’s Environment Department had them removed, claiming that they had not been consulted.

“There was clearly a breakdown in communications in City Hall because we had permission from a senior official to proceed, and then the Environment Department took issue with the signs and insisted that they had to be removed,” said the source.

A Council spokesperson said they were currently in discussions with the Latin Quarter to provide promotional material and added “there’s been no falling out here”.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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