Council Update – Cllr Sharon Tolan
The contractor for the new Spine Road from Laytown to Bettystown is well on target for completion in July, and I know everyone is looking forward to seeing this new road and car park open. It will be great to have a safe walking and cycling route to school for almost 2000 students that attend the 3 schools and Youthreach Centre in that immediate area, and of course a new car park for parents to use for school drop off. Many thanks to everyone who got involved in the competition to find a new name for the road and I’m looking forward to finding out the chosen name!
I was delighted to have unanimous support for my recent motion calling on Meath County Council to carry out water quality testing all year round. Bathing Water Quality is currently only tested during the official Bathing Season, which runs from June to September. Sea swimming has become so popular over the past 12-18 months, and having spoken with many of our brave sea swimmers it is clear that hundreds now love their daily swim and won’t be stopping anytime soon. It is absolutely crucial that swimmers can make informed decisions before they get into the water and knowledge of the water quality all year round is crucial for this. The first test of this year was taken 24/05 and as expected the results met Excellent Quality Status! I was very disappointed that Meath County Council did not submit an application for Blue Flag or Green Flag Awards this year, but the uncertainty around beach parking had to be considered. I will be working with our Environment Team on applications for a number of our beaches given that many of the criteria requirements will be met through (hopefully) making the vehicle ban permanent this year, and the development of the new facilities at the entrance to Bettystown.
Watch this space!
Beach Building, Library & Community Facilities
Plans for the new library and community building at Seaview Terrace are progressing well, and I am hopeful that the contract will be awarded this summer, and builders on site by Autumn! I am working on delivering a Community Centre also for the area. I am all too aware that this new Library facility will not address all of our community needs, and that a separate community centre is badly needed, so rest assured I will keep working on this!
Coastal Protection Strategy
As many of you know, I have been highlighting my concerns regarding coastal erosion and damage for a number of years. I am delighted to have finally secured €350,000 to develop a Coastal Protection Strategy. This funding will be used to identify our needs from the mouth of the River Delvin to the mouth of the River Boyne, and prepare funding applications for the necessary measures. In the meantime, Meath County Council will be carrying out repairs to the damaged gabions in Laytown, which I have been highlighting as a serious health and safety issue in their current condition.
As part of my efforts to protect and enhance our natural biodiversity, and to improve accessibility for all, I have submitted a funding application for the latest round of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS 2021), to develop a plan for a 2.5km Eco-Boardwalk through the dunes from Bettystown to Mornington. This would significantly enhance the ‘beach experience’ for users, and provide a formal pedestrian and cycling route, improving access by providing a permanent hard surface which would successfully facilitate easy access for wheelchair users, pushchairs and the elderly. Provision of a formal walkway would also provide permanent protection of the dune structure which is currently being trampled across a number of man-made informal routes. I will keep you updated if the application gets approval!
Due to Covid restrictions, the delivery of the bus shelters I managed to secure last year have been delayed. I have been assured by our Transportation team that the shelters at Deepforde and Coney Hall will be installed during the summer months, and the 6 new bus stops along the Golf Links Road should be completed by October. I am still working on delivering more shelters for the area, as I know how important it is to have some small bit of comfort when waiting for the bus in all weathers! It is these small provisions that encourage more people to use public transport.
I hope you all enjoy the easing of restrictions over the summer months, and that we are all vaccinated as quickly as possible. Best of luck to all of the local businesses who are reopening, and please try to support them if you can. Do take care, and if I can be of any assistance please get in touch by dropping me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or giving me a call on 086-3669852. Sharon