aoiseach presented with â‚¬2bn Galway dockland plan
Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent
A new municipal gallery and cultural centre are key features of a â‚¬2 billion development plan for Galway's docklands which has been presented to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
The blueprint aims to move the existing tidal port into deepwater and "turn the city's face to the sea", according to Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Ã‰amon Ã“ CuÃv.
The Minister is spearheading the initiative with State and business interests being led by John Killeen.
The proposal, which received an enthusiastic response from the Taoiseach in Galway yesterday, is being marketed as a potential "flagship project" for the west in the new National Development Plan currently under preparation for 2007 to 2013.
It has been prepared by a special steering group representing Galway Harbour Company, Galway City Council, Ireland-West Tourism, Galway Chamber of Commerce and the Marine Institute.
Expertise was also drawn from George Washington University and the Dublin Institute of Technology.
The proposal consists of two phases, involving the initial relocation of the current port area to a deepwater site - suitable for cruise ships - and the subsequent development of a 32-acre "brownfield" site under strategic development zone designation.
Central to the plan is the release of an estimated eight acres of amenity area in the city centre. A new "landmark waterfront" development involving "cultural attractions", housing, shopping areas and marine leisure facilities would "allow Galway to fulfil its potential as a maritime city", the plan says.
It would strengthen its ability to live up to its "gateway" designation under the national spatial strategy.
The project would "complement" proposed developments at the adjoining site owned by CIÃ‰, which is currently under consideration by the transport company.
It would also help to integrate rail, bus and sea transport. Most of the area would be pedestrianised.
Mr Ã“ CuÃv said it would also complement the partial opening of the Western Rail Corridor, which would be dominated by commuter traffic.
In his view, the project would be modelled on Auckland's waterfront development in New Zealand.
Proposed marine leisure facilities would be inclusive, involving all types of activity from angling to traditional sailing craft and would in that sense be the "very antithesis" of private marina developments, he added.
If included in the National Development Plan, the proposal would then require a Government order to designate it as a strategic development zone under the 2000 Planning and Development Act.
Galway City Council would then be appointed as the relevant development agency.
Â© The Irish Times
Picture this . . . a dazzling plan for a â‚¬2bn docklands that will rival Sydney Harbour
A MASSIVE â‚¬2bn docklands development - the biggest in the west - is set to transform Galway city.
The plan for Galway's marine hinterland - which would be comparable to Sydney Harbour, the Cape Town Waterfront and the Dublin Docklands - was formally presented to the Taoiseach yesterday and is proposed as a major part of the new National Development Plan 2007-2013.
It was drawn up at the invitation of Galway West Minister Eamon O Cuiv by a high-powered group of civic, business, tourism, harbour and marine executives, backed up by senior academics at George Washington University in Washington DC and the Dublin Institute of Technology.
The docklands would be "a flagship, landmark project" for the Ireland West region. To be constructed in two phases, the project would entail the relocation of the existing port and the development of a nearby 32-acre brownfield site for amenities and commercial use. Key features would include a municipal gallery, a conference centre and an innovative cultural centre.
The relocation of the port would give the city new docking facilities and would allow Galway to accommodate the lucrative cruise-liner business. Revenue of â‚¬25m a year is forecast from cruise liners alone.
It is also envisaged that Galway would become a major international hub for sea angling, sailing and related marine activities. Galway already hosts the headquarters of the Marine Institute.
The development would provide a once-off opportunity to integrate public transport in Galway and it is envisaged that the project would dovetail with the proposed development of the adjoining Coras Iompair Eireann rail and bus terminals. The entire site could be for pedestrians only, in keeping with the pedestrianisation of Galway city centre, according to the plan.
The authors conclude: "The development will allow Galway to fulfil its potential as a maritime city as it will capitalise on the unique opportunity presented by the ocean coming into the heart of the city."
Great news for Galway if it materalises. I just hope they thing BIG