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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents voice concerns over aquatic centre plans

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Residents close to Cappagh Park in Knocknacarra have expressed serious concerns about the potential impact of a proposed new aquatic centre for their locality that could attract up to 6,000 users per week.

In a submission to the City Council, the residents of the Lios Mór estate – that adjoins Cappagh Park – have warned that the proposed centre would be two to three times the size of the existing community centre.

“It would stretch from the side of the Community Centre, through the playground, and down towards the river.

“Consequently, green areas and trees on the site would be removed and parking, as we understand it for 192 cars, would be carved out,” the residents state.

For the proposed aquatic centre to go ahead, a variation of the City Development Plant, 2017-2023, will be required, to add in a ‘special development objective’ for the recreational and amenity zoned Cappagh Park lands.

A spokesperson for the City Council told the Galway City Tribune that submissions in regard to this variation had closed on August 31.

“A report is now being prepared by the Chief Executive [Brendan McGrath] for submission to the Council within the next six weeks, which will be discussed at a full meeting of the City Council,” said the City Council spokesperson.

One of the main concerns of local residents relates to parking and traffic issues where problems already exist with matches and training sessions in the adjoining playing fields.

“With the number of daily users predicted, it is inevitable that all estates surrounding Cappagh Park would be over-run with traffic at all times if the development went ahead,” the residents state.

They also point to environmental issues such as the current designation of the site as an area of special conservation [SAC] and the need to protect local flora and fauna in Cappagh Park.

Residents in their submission also point to health and safety issues relating to traffic; possible anti-social behaviour; and the viability of the new facility, given that there are seven other swimming pools and fitness centres within 5km of Cappagh Park.

They have also suggested that an alternative to the Cappagh Park site would be the possible redevelopment of Leisureland – also due to be developed and extended over the next 15 years.

“We contend that this [Leisureland] would be a better site for the proposed aquatic and fitness centre – it is larger, more accessible, has better parking and is in a public area,” the residents state.

Local area councillor, Donal Lyons, said that while the aquatic centre development was a very ambitious and exciting one for the area, the very real concerns of local residents had to be addressed comprehensively.

“The proposed aquatic and water polo facility is one with a lot of potential for Galway but what is absolutely essential is that all the concerns of local residents are taken on board and dealt with openly and clearly,” said Cllr. Lyons.

Some estimates put the cost of the aquatic centre project in at between €11m and €15m, with a large chunk of the funding coming from the national Large Scale Sports Infrastructural Fund (total €100m).

The aquatic centre would consist of a 34 x 25 metre pool, capable of hosting water polo matches as well as a state-of-the-art gym, fitness studios, café, extended car-park and ancillary facilities.

The national sports fund has already made a preliminary provision of €23m for the redevelopment of the Galway Sportsground as the home ground for Connacht Rugby.

CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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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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