independent

Friday 26 April 2019

A record €1.3bn on local projects

Council Report

Construction work continues on the €212 million New Ross bypass project
Construction work continues on the €212 million New Ross bypass project

David Looby at Wexford Co Council monthly meeting

More than €1.3 billion is being spent on special job creating, infrastructural and socially beneficial projects in Co Wexford between now and 2021.

Details of the council's three-year capital programme were touched on at the meeting, prior to being approved by the 34 member body.

The total cost of special projects comes to €96m. These include Trinity Wharf in Wexford town, on which €12m is due to be spent in 2020 (the project's total cost is estimated at €28m). €132m is earmarked for housing projects. €956m is being spent on road projects, including the Enniscorthy Bypass (an estimated €316m) and New Ross Bypass, (an estimated €215m). €55m is allocated towards flood relief projects, with over €78m estimated for water services projects.

€6.4m is due to be spent on economic development projects, €5m of which for New Ross town centre's regeneration. €13.7m is set aside for community projects the biggest sum (€3.3m) for a coastal path between Kilmurray and Wexford). Environment services works are expected to come to €10.8m, with other projects amounting to €20m. €3.35m is the estimated cost of an insurance risk management programme for addressing high risk/repeat claim deficits.

Head of Finance Annette O'Neill countered Cllr Michael Sheehan's claim that the extensive programme - which incorporates bypass, special projects, community, housing, water and other strands - is a wish list. She said: 'Traditionally it would have been a wish list (programme) but now we've gotten it back to where we can set out to achieve these over three years.'

Cllr Malcolm Byrne said there is an increased funding allocation for footpaths, arguing that under the new boundaries the Gorey district will be the largest and consequently will require more funding.

Cllr Larry O'Brien suggested that Cllr Byrne could monitor the footpaths programme from Strasbourg, referencing his tilt for the EU MEP seat.

Cllr Ger Carthy was cagey about approving the programme at a time when the county is being fragmented into six districts. 'When there is cake and there are six slices of it, I would be expecting my slice,' an ever pro-active Cllr Carthy said, fresh from a shift working in the ambulance service.

Ms O'Neill said the plan features detailed projects, along with projects in planning.

'Our hope is that they will be done.'

She said as part of the programme LED lights will replace the old street light bulbs.

Chief Executive Tom Enright said the programme will not be impacted in any material way due to the boundary re-draw.

He said it contains estimates of the total cost of the works.

'The council is committed to the strategic development of the county. Major projects are deemed to be those with a total cost value of €200,000 or greater. The 2019-2021 programme provides for progressing projects set out in the Economic and Community Investment Programme and which are the subject of the €48m borrowing programme. Ministerial sanction was secured for €8m of this borrowing in 2016, a further €15m was sanctioned in 2018 and the remaining €25m is currently the subject of a current application with the DHPLG seeking ministerial sanction.'

He said where other major capital projects arise over the coming three years, they will be advanced if funding is available.

Cllr Carthy said the Rosslare district will only have one major project: a link road in Kilmore Quay, which he welcomed as being very important.

'But from Carnsore Point to Bannow Bay and down to Clongeen and back in to Drinagh that is all.'

The programme was adopted.

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