Councillor Sharon Tolan with Peter Monahan of the Boyne Trail Committee (right) and Niall Kierans of the Drogheda BIDS group at last night's Boyne Greenway information evening in the dHotel. Photo: Andy Spearman.
If the concerns expressed last night at a public information evening about the Drogheda to Mornington section of the proposed Boyne Greenway are anything to go by, the much anticipated project could get stuck in the mud of the River Boyne even before a sod is turned.
The information evening, which was organised by Bettystown based Councillor Sharon Tolan, was intended to inform members of the public about the plans for the route of the Greenway and to encourage members of the public to make submissions to Meath County Council ahead of a formal planning application.
Councillor Tolan, who is a keen advocate of the Greenway, said that the idea for the evening and a similar event to be held in The Village Hotel in Bettystown on Wednesday next, September 25th at 7.30, was to ensure that as many people as possible got to see the plans for themselves.
Cllr. Tolan said that the route depicted on the many architectural drawings on the wall was by no means set in stone. “If there is anything you don’t like about the route, now is the time to speak to Meath County Council” she said.
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“All suggestions and submissions will be considered for inclusion in the finalised plans, which will form the basis of the formal planning application.”
It soon became clear however that some of the people in attendance, certainly the most vocal sector, were against the project for a variety of different reasons.
One man said that the route from Mornington to the viaduct was adjacent to the most important wintering site for wading birds in County Meath.
He said that the proposed boardwalk would force the birds away from their feeding grounds which he said is a special area of conservation and as such he found it extraordinary that the project had even got this far.
There were other issues raised such as the perceived safety of the boardwalks and greenway, one or two women said that they considered them to be an inherent danger, especially at the Tower Road area of Mornington.
Disputing this, Councillor Tolan said that the Greenway would take cars off the road and offer people an opportunity to cycle or walk to work or school in safety.
Eddie Phelan, a member of the Boyne Trail committee that first raised the possibility of a Boyne Greenway some years ago, said that it is important for people, whether they are for against the greenway, to make a submission to the Council.
“If your comments are negative, perhaps you could also suggest an alternative” he said, echoing the opinion of one woman in the audience who said that she thought it was a great idea but that the proposed route was not the correct one.
Meath County Council are anxious to hear from members of the public on the issue - they would like to hear from local communities, cyclists, walkers and interested individuals and groups who may have suggestions on the project.
Details of the proposals are on www.meath.ie and are also on display at Council offices in Duleek and Navan.
This article was written by Andy Spearman