Friday 19 July 2019

Plans for a sustainable community

Myles Buchanan

The chairman of Wicklow Tidy Towns outlined plans to make the town a Sustainable Energy Community at a presentation to the members of Wicklow Municipal District last week.

Wicklow Tidy Towns secured a Silver Medal for the first time this year and achieved the second highest marks in the county.

Tidy Towns Chairman Andrew Lawless explained to the local councillors at their monthly meeting that a number of new initiatives have already taken place for the 2019 competition, including the mural at the Abbey Street car park, a waste management resource and the planting of 5,000 crocus bulbs donated by Wicklow Rotary Club. Wicklow Tidy Towns will also soon be set up as a limited company with charitable clearance and tax clearance.

However, the main focus for the group will be establishing Wicklow as a Sustainable Energy Community.

'We want to change people's energy behaviour,' explained Mr Lawless.

A three-year partnership agreement with Sustainable Energy Authority Of Ireland (SEAI) has already been reached and it is planned to hold a public meeting in January for both households and businesses.

'We need to recruit volunteers with a background in energy. Other recruits could be people with an interest in climate change or experience in getting messages across, someone with budgetary skills who are also good at costing projects,' said Mr Lawless.

A committee has also been formed and will include members of Wicklow Tidy Towns, Wicklow Town Team, Wicklow Municipal District and an Environmental officer from Wicklow County Council.

The long-term aim will be to carry out energy audits of houses, businesses and sports clubs.

'It will give us confidence to go out and plan projects knowing that we have the support of Wicklow Municipal District. It makes things easier for us,' said Mr Lawless.

All six district councillors were effusive in their praise of the Tidy Towns.

Cllr Mary Kavanagh said: 'Wicklow just wouldn't be the same town without the work of the tidy towns volunteers. Bachelors Walk has had a complete makeover with planting and encouraging biodiversity. They really go above and beyond just keeping the town tidy'.

Cllr John Snell recommended that Wicklow Tidy Towns communicate with the Ballynagran Community Liaison Committee and the Cultural Development Section of Wicklow County Council to discuss any grants which may be available.

District Cathaoirleach, Cllr Daire Nolan, said: 'Every town with a tidy towns committee knows they are one of the most important parts of that town'.

Wicklow People