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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What is in a name?

This week sees two attacks on the rights of individuals and groups to object.
Developments on fringe of city went unchallenged (WNS p15): Greens, amateur green planners, greens, green people, concerns of small groups, democracy of one, one or two siren voices, Green Party.... some of the many terms used by the Phoenix in his editorial this week.
City Councillor urges serial objectors to see bigger picture in downturn (WT, p38): Hilary Quinlan who is chair of the SPC on Planning and economic development uses phrases such an unusually high number of often frivolous objections and appeals; a small minority of people; self appointed unelected unrepresentative planning watchdogs seeking to win long lost battles and score points for their own petty purposes whilst at the same time standing fully behind the provision allowing citizens input to the planning process,etc,etc.

We will need to keep an eye on potential development of Goughs Wood as:
Snowcream a victim of systematic stripping (ME, p1)
and No more Dairy for Waterford (WNS, p3).
Has anyone seen the new gate/fence on the riverwalk? Is this the start of the end or are the City Council about to begin work on the next phase of the walkway?

I have just returned from the 22nd annual conference of Caretakers of the Environment International held in Aalborg, Denmark. The theme was New energy and sustainability so I was interested in:
Solar: its the way to go (Views from the Brasscock byJPF in ME, p7) and Biomass boilers included in Greener Homes Scheme (ME, B6).
For more on the conference check out: //

For those of you with a camera: Blue Flag Beach Photo Competition 2008 (ME, B11)..take a snap of Clonea or Counsellor's in Dunmore before August 8th and email it to:

Well done to all at Fenor: Conservators of Fenor Bog receive International (Dutch) accolade (WNS, p25)

1 comment:

wild woman said...

Hilary Quinlan, the new Planning SPC chair, is moaning about people's rights to particpate in the planning process, picking up a
regularly-trotted-out theme from some elected representatives of the city. Basically, he contends
that developers are "put off Waterford" because we have too many
objections to plans. Well, let's check the facts, because Mr. Quinlan doesn't provide any in his piece, and the Munster Express appears to take him at his word, > as it hasn't carreid out any checks on his contention.
Appeals to An Bord Pleanala take time and are one measure of delays in the planning process.
(It is worth noting that another source of delay is developers themselves - who sometimes provide poorly worked out plans, and use the planners feedback and submissions to help them streamline their applications.)
An Bord Pleanala has received 21 appeals from Waterford City LA area this year so far. That works out at about 9% (based on 229 planning applications received by city council in the same period). The equivalent figure for 2007 is 7.3% (36 appeals, 489 planning applications received. Source: - Planning Lists and An Bord Pleanala).
- How does this compare to other cities?
Well, Galway's figures* are 12.2% for 2008 and 9.5% for 2007 -
noticeably higher than Waterford.
Limerick** comes in at 6.5% for 2008 and 11.3% for 2007 - lower this year to date, but, again noticably higher than Waterford for last year.
In conclusion, the FACTS suggest that Waterfordians would appear to
"object" considerably less than their counterparts in other "gateway" cities.
Are citizen/ small group objections justifiable, beyond this being their constitutional right?
Well, many councillors of late have expressed regret at their own
decision to approve development in the Anne St. / Penrose Lane area of the city some years ago. Many of the poor quality apartments are now empty, and the place has become an eyesore at the entrance to the city. Interestingly, one of
the local "serial" objectors Mr Quinlan finds so objectionable, made a submission on the same development, calling for improvements to the building
quality, reduced heights etc. which city council ignored at
the time.
That's just one example of where forward thinking by ordinary, informed citizens, might have made a positive impact on our city, had it been taken on board by the planners and decision-makers.
3 years ago, City Council opted to re-zone part of Kilbarry Bog pNHA for road and bridge building. Local residents and groups appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanala, who rejected City Councils decision, thus saving
what is left of this wonderful natural resource. Ironically, the same City Council have just
announced "their" new plan to create a Biodiversity Park in the area, and have been falling over each other to laud this great idea !! The reality:
This area would be under tarmac now, only for the tireless and unpaid efforts of a few concerned citizens.
So, in future, let's have some facts from people who make assertions, and let's get away from this wild perception-creating nonsense. The people who care enough about this city and the lives of citizens to take time, put
pen to paper, and suffer the attacks and intimidation of local elected representatives and officials, as well as nodding dogs in the local media, should be lauded as saviours of alot of what is rich and valuable about this
city, not vilified.
Many of the indiviuals and groups who's constitutional rights would
appear to be resented by Mr. Quinlan, make submissions on their own time and at their own expense, for no personal financial gain. However, Mr Quinlan will receive 6000 euro for his services as chair of the SPC this year. That
is, for attending 4 (one-hour) meetings a year*** - 1500 euro for each hour's work!! Tapayers money that is.
*Galway applications received up to June 30th 2008 = 425; 52 appeals
to An Bord Pleanala ABP
2007 applications = 937; 89 appeals to ABP
** Limerick applications received up to June 30th 2007 = 244; 16
2007 applications = 488; 55 appeals
Source - relevant websites
(***occassionally, extra meetings may be scheduled, for example, during a development plan which happens every 6 years)