Monday, October 12, 2009

New Waterford Crystal Plan is a truly exciting prospect

At tonight’s meeting of Waterford City Council the City Manager presented a visionary plan aimed at reviving crystal manufacturing in the city. The plan consists of two phases the most exciting of which is phase two – an iconic building on the south quays. The intention is two build a barge out onto the river situated either side of the clock tower. The development will complement existing south quay buildings and will be a maximum of three stories. The barge will consist of 16,000sq foot 6,000 of which will involve the crystal dimension. It will also allow for retail and other development. A significant portion of the four lane road infrastructure on the quay will be replaced by single outer lanes creating new public realm in the centre.

This development is tremendous news for the city. Many of the jigsaw pieces are in place. The City Manager deserves huge credit for this. I have long advocated for a major development of our quays. This plan will truly make the quay a jewel in the crown of Waterford and the Southeast. It will create significant tourist opportunities and will complement the planned historic and Viking triangle. It will replace most of the existing quay car parks and replace them with sub-terannian parking. The most significant feature of the plan is that it will restore crystal manufacturing most precious to our city. In fact it will go further and bring it into the heart of the city centre.

In the excitement of the plans potential we must not forget all of those crystal workers who lost their jobs. The Waterford Crystal brand was built on the back of the blood, sweat and hard work of ordinary working people who developed exceptional skills and talent. Their sacrifices and their loss must also be remembered. However I am sure that they will see this plan not only as salvaging something from the wreckage but as an opportunity to build again for the future. I in no way understate my position when I say that this is the most ambitious, the most visionary and the most realistic plan for Waterford City I have seen in my time on the council. It has my full support and I hope it is delivered quickly.

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