Developer offers to fund water treatment plant in Ballymore

Developers have offered to fund part of the cost of building the badly-needed Ballymore Eustace wastewater treatment plant.

Cova, a property management company representing developers with interests in the Kildare village, have offered to come up with E1.8 million of the total cost of building the plant, estimated at E3 million.

In a letter to Kildare County Council dated November 16, Cova offered to pay Kildare County Council’s portion of the cost of the plant. The rest of the money is due to be met by the Department of the Environment.

The offer has met with mixed reaction locally in Ballymore Eustace.

A Kildare County Council spokesman confirmed that it had received a letter from Cova, but refused to discuss its contents. The spokesman said that it has responded to the letter and would be dealing with the issues it raised.

Cova represents Armston Properties, which has lodged a planning application with Kildare County Council for a major development in east Ballymore Eustace. A decision on this application is due in mid-January. The development is slated to include 52 houses, a 60-bed nursing home, a medical centre and four rural enterprise units. Cova says that this development would create 250 jobs in the area during construction and 70 jobs afterwards.

Objections to the Armston plan lodged with Kildare County Council centre on the absence of a proper waste-water treatment plant for the village.

The Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers Association called the existing plant a “disgrace” and claimed that “raw sewage” overflows from the “dilapidated” and “primitive” facility in its submission objecting to Armston’s plans.

The new wastewater treatment plant, for which local groups have campaigned for decades, is planned for the Coughlanstown Road beside the KTK landfill site.

Planning permission has been granted for the plant, but earlier this year the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government called a halt on its funding to wastewater treatment schemes and is examining them on a case-by-case basis.

The lack of the wastewater treatment plant means that Ballymore Eustace escaped much of the development of the past decade. However, planning permission has been granted to some schemes which cannot go ahead without the new plant.

Abbeydrive Developments was granted planning permission by the Supreme Court last July for a development of houses, shops, a creche and medical centre. Cova also represents the company which acquired the land concerned in this application from Abbeydrive.

However, it is believed that the offer to fund the plant is not contingent on any specific planning application being granted to Cova.

“Cova is a concerned stakeholder in the local community of Ballymore Eustace and has an interest in facilitating its future development.

This is currently being held up by the lack of funds to construct a new and much needed waste water treatment plant, which is also a high priority for the local community who are currently exposed to environmental and pollution threats, arising from the defunct nature of the existing system,” said the company in a statement.

“Cova would welcome the opportunity to engage with the Council around its proposal with a view to achieving a win-win situation for all the key stakeholders in the area.”

However, reaction to the company’s proposal has been mixed in Ballymore Eustace, with many believing the ‘no strings attached’ offer is too good to be true.

Tom O’Keeffe of the Ballymore Eustace Community Development Association said that the waste water treatment plant should be paid for by Kildare county Council. “We would not want to compromise the integrity of the village in order to have a plant. In other words – not development at any cost,” he said.

“It is most unfortunate that the council cannot provide the plant the old fashioned way, funded by taxes and rates,” he added.

“In a nutshell, we are sceptical of people bearing gifts, at the end of the day. We do not want to barter with the integrity of the village. It’s fine if they want to provide the plant, but any planning application will have to stand up on its own.”

Thomas Deegan, treasurer of the Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers Association, which has been active in campaigning for a new plant, said: “On the face of it, you could say it s a very generous offer but I will believe it when I see it. It seems too good to be true.”

Former councillor Billy Hillis welcomed the proposal, noting the great need for the plant in the area and that public-private partnership is a model that has been adopted successfully elsewhere in the country.

Source: Leinster Leader

Published Date: 24 December 2009

By Laura Coates

http://www.leinsterleader.ie/news/Developer-offers-to-fund-water.5933145.jp

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