Kilkenny have stolen the initiative and gotten one over on New Ross by deciding - without consultation with Wexford officials - to name the new greenway which 'starts and finishes' in New Ross, the Kilkenny Greenway.
Always known to date as the Waterford to New Ross Greenway, the 22km walking and cycling route took a step closer to being built last week after Kilkenny County Council approved Part 8 planning. Agreement has yet to be reached with a number of landowners along the route but good progress is being made. The Rosbercon section now needs to be approved for planning by Wexford County Council and with major funding for greenways over 20km in length about to be announced in the coming weeks, excitement is building about the project which is on CIE land. The Greenway will connect Ferrybank to New Ross along a disused railway line and cost between €5 and €10m to complete.
Kilkenny County Council Landscape Architect Claire Goodwin said: 'It's going to be called the Kilkenny Greenway. Under the original plans it was going to be called the Waterford to New Ross Greenway. Our CEO Colette Byrne was concerned that there was no mention of Kilkenny in it and if you say Waterford to New Ross people who may not be from the area who are not familiar with the georgraphy may not think of Kilkenny.'
Ms Goodwin said there was unanimous support for Part 8 planning and the name was approved by councillors, once Kilkenny Greenway was put forward.
'We believe that funding will be announced in the coming weeks. The total cost depends on the number of underpasses and significant infrastructural works required, other than just laying the tarmac on the rail corridor so the bill could go high.'
She said work is due to begin next year. 'A lot of detailed drawing, surveys, tender documents and contracts have to be completed.'
At a Piltown municipal council meeting last week council director of services Sean McKeown informed members that 'Kilkenny Greenway' would have the added benefit of the strength of the Kilkenny brand. In addition, the majority of the route is in Kilkenny. The proposed new name found favour with local councillors.
A defiant New Ross District Director Eamonn Hore said: 'I would like to hear it officially from Kilkenny. I would be confident that we will work New Ross into it. The main aim is to get the greenway built. It starts and finishes in New Ross and nobody can dispute that. New Ross is the keynote point. Realistically the greenway will be of far more benefit for the town of New Ross than for any other area.'