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CITY TRIBUNE

Redesign of Warwick nursing home plans to overcome planning hurdles

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A decision is expected from Galway City Council next month on redesigned plans for a 60-bed nursing home on the site of the former Warwick Hotel in Salthill.

Last October, Rushmany Nursing Home Ltd – which already operates Rushmore Nursing Home in Knocknacarra – applied for permission to build a four-storey, 60-bed nursing home, with surface carparking and a south-facing landscaped amenity area with outdoor seating on the three-quarter acre site.

However, planners ordered a redesign, pointing out that the development would be in conflict with public health and safety, particularly in the context of fire safety and means of escape. The applicants were ordered to liaise with the Chief Fire Officer.

The Council also ordered a significant increase in the quantity and quality of open space provided.

Redesigned plans were subsequently submitted to the Council and are currently under consideration by the local authority.

A professional landscaping scheme has been drawn up, which “seeks to deliver high quality and appropriately designed amenity areas which are tailor-made to meet the requirements of the elderly”.

This consists of a south-facing ‘therapeutic/dementia garden’ to the front and a shared and a looped walkway within the site.

“These areas will provide for a hierarchy of functional open space for future residents, accompanying visitors and staff within the site, being linked by a looped and dedicated walkway. The combination of these spaces and linkages will provide adequate exercise opportunities for longer-term residents and those who may have restricted movement or be confined to wheelchairs,” the new plans read.

Seven parking spaces (leaving a total of 34) have been omitted to allow for a ’homezone’ open space area, and the applicants argue that the site is serviced by two bus routes, reducing the demand for parking.

They add that it is on a ‘high performing cross-city route’ as part of the Government’s BusConnects plan, set to be delivered by 2027.

One objection to the application was lodged, by Iura Matel with an address in Dublin, on the grounds that the size of the site cannot accommodate a nursing home of this scale, and the building is “crammed in”.

A decision is expected from the City Council next month.

CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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

Galway City Council needs 40 more workers to help deliver on projects

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Forty more workers are needed at City Hall ‘right away’, the Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said.

Brendan McGrath has warned city councillors that the local authority is understaffed and it needs to hire more staff immediately to deliver its plans and projects.

The total cost of the extra 40 workers, including salary, would be between €1.75 million and €1.95 million.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council had a workforce now that was below what it had in 2007, but the city’s population has grown and so too had the services the Council provides.

The population of Galway City grew by almost 11% in the 10 years to 2016, he said, and total staff numbers in the Council fell by 13.6% during that period.

Though more staff were hired in recent years, Mr McGrath said that the Council was at 2007 and 2008 staffing levels, even though the Census will record further increases in population since 2016.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council now provides 1,000 services across a range of departments, far more than during the 2000s.

He said that currently, 524 staff are employed at the City Council. This equated to 493 Whole Time Equivalents when part-time workers such as school wardens and Town Hall workers are included.

Mr McGrath said that 12% of all staff are in acting up positions, with many more in short-term or fixed-term contracts. There was a highly competitive jobs market and the Council was finding recruitment and retention of specialist staff difficult.
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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