A stretch of walkway along the canal between Dublin Bridge and Sugar Island Bridge has been ed for a £1.5m upgrade. The work which will begin in 2013 represents phase II of Newry’s public realm scheme that began this year with an overhaul of Hill Street and Monaghan Street. It had previously been confirmed that the Department of Social Development would make an additional £1.5m available for a second scheme with the minutes of a June 7 council meeting confirming where these funds would be spent. “It was agreed to proceed with the proposed City Linages PR Scheme (along the canal from Dublin Bridge to Sugar Island Bridge). In a statement Newry and Mourne District Council who will steer the project said preparatory work was well under way. “A team of consultants from URS have been appointed to produce a strategy for the city centre’s public realm,” it read. “It has been agreed that following the conclusion of the strategy and subject to the completion of an economic appraisal the next public realm scheme to be undertaken in the city will be along Newry’s canal-side quays from Dublin Bridge to Sugar Island Bridge. It is only after approval of this concept stage, can the scheme then progress to full design, public consultation, planning and delivery. It is hoped that the scheme could be on-site early in 2013. The project could lead to an overhaul of parking provision in the city with the June 7 meeting revealing: “Council, DSD, DRD and chamber should now work closely together to ensure that there is adequate additional parking provided throughout the city given the 120 spaces that will be lost along this section of the canal.” The loss of such a number of spaces could force the big hand of a number of government bodies, including the council DSD and DRD to open up vacant areas of the city for parking. Perhaps the most obvious location for delivering parking spaces is the DSD owned former site of North Street flats which in recent years has opened as a parking facility at Christmas. A further suggestion that the land at the back of the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre that was to have been developed in a multi-million pound deal that has since fallen through should be made available, was raised at the June 12 Economic Development Committee AGM.
27th June 2012