Re: Re: â‚¬2bn plan to develop Galways docklands
The €2bn being talked about sounds quite conservative for what is actually being considered. The following is an approximation of a diagram published a while back in the Connaght Tribune, prepared by Tobin Engineers. It shows the massive scale of landfill being planned adjoining a new causeway along which cargo ships will be able to berth and unload and deep water berths 1km out to sea for Cruise Liners to dock.
The existing docks would be given over to amenity use as a marina whilst land currently occupied by oil depots, stores and other Harbour activities would be freed up for development. This area adjoins another large swathe of land owned by CIE which will also be up for development simultaneously. The potential is there to almost double the size of the city centre core along with the provision of a new bus/rail station in the vicinity of Eyre Square.
These opportunities are extremely exciting and could, with proper masterplanning and investment, create a whole new cultural,tourism and commercial hub for the city, easing the pressure on the historic core of Shop Street which is currently being overrun with High Street chain stores thus losing it’s unique character.
However, the proposed new docks is quite a frightening prospect. then new causeway and landfill could potentially block all views of Galway bay from the Spanish Arch / Claddagh areas. The land usage of the reclaimed zone is most likely to be industrial / dockland type, thus meaning the view of the bay would be replaced not by glistening new developments of hotels & cultural facilities as some people seem to think, but by scrap heaps, stacks of shipping containers and industrial warehouses. The area earmarked for the “new cultural quarter / tourism development” is purely the area marked Harbour Company Lands on the diagram.
Obviously the plans are at a very early stage as blocks on a map but I sincerely hope that the end result is less intrusive on views and of a much more modest scale. I fully realize that land will need to be reclaimed to allow the docks to re-locate but surely there is no reason for Galway to have such an enormous port facility.
This will be an interesting one to watch as it’s basically a done deal that something along these lines will happen in the near future. The government have their eye on the scheme as the major infrastructural project for the West during the course of the next National Development Plan and are talking in terms of “transforming” Galway into a waterfront city. It’s a noble objective but the diagram as published shows a reality far, far from the dream.