Will the people of Shannon have a new Town Park to enjoy this summer? Independent councillor Gerry Flynn appears to think the project is stalled but the Clare County Council’s acting director for planning says the project is on schedule.
Originally much of what people in Shannon had assumed was their town park was somehow sold off to a developer and formed much of the Brú na Sionna complex.
Then in 2013, Clare County Council began to develop a new Town Park as part of its Green Infrastructure Plan. The project is an objective of the Shannon Town & Environs Local Area Plan 2012-2018, therefore it is expected to be delivered before the end of this year.
At the recent Shannon Municipal District meeting, Cllr Flynn raised concerns about the project and said, “I would have expected that the Town Park would be half finished at this stage.”
According to Cllr Flynn, a member of staff at Clare County Council who had played a leading role in the Town Park project recently left that position and he is fearful that this will lead to delays.
He told the meeting that he had been informed that the Town Park project was stalled following the departure of the staff member.
Cllr Flynn called on Clare County Council to appoint another official to expedite the project as well as other elements of the Green Infrastructure Plan for Shannon.
Recalling that €910,000 including €455,000 of EU money and matching funding from the council’s own resources, he said it is a matter of urgency to have a suitably qualified alternative put in place to complete this project on schedule.
Liam Conneally, director of Social Development, said he was not aware of any staffing reasons for not moving this project along.
Mr Conneally has undertaken to impress upon the relevant authorities that completion of the Town Park remains a priority for Shannon.
A detailed statement was received from the council’s acting director of services for planning, Brian McCarthy where he stated, “The €910,000 project will see the enhancement and incorporation of the existing town park woodland and the adjacent Rineanna Park into a flagship town park for the people of Shannon.”
Mr McCarthy pointed out that the council has a tender process underway seeking a contractor/s to implement the design and construct and landscape the park.
He added, “Once the successful contractor has been appointed it is anticipated the development of the park will occur over the summer. The project is currently on schedule and continues to be project managed, as it has been throughout the process, by senior staff in the planning department and the Shannon Municipal Office.
Just over a year ago, in January 2017, the council hosted an event locally to present plans for the new Shannon Town Park. At that time the public was informed that a design team had been appointed since September 2016 and the council stated that “contractors could be on site in mid-2017”.
With the tendering process ongoing and a contractor yet to be appointed, it seems that Cllr Flynn’s concerns about delays are not groundless.