The Greenway Project team have confirmed potentially 5 route options available for stage 2 of the Public Consultation from January 2021. With current public health restrictions, this may be an online process.
Cllr Evelyn Parsons welcomed the funding boost from Government announced last month “In particular it’s great to note the Athlone to Galway Greenway under TII is allocated €8.1million euro, the third highest allocation announced nationally. From the recent public consultation, where the Ballinasloe community really engaged robustly, it's clear that this is the type of investment and sustainable sensitive development we want to see coming through Poolboy, Ballinasloe - not trucks.” stated Cllr. Evelyn.
Denis Naughton TD also welcomed the news “While this project through East Galway is at an early stage of planning I hope, in the short term, that Athlone Castle and the Battle Site at Aughrim can be linked using both on-road and off-road sections to create a Siege Cycleway linking both historic sites. I believe this would enhance the local tourism offering as well as attract visitors to Aughrim, which was the bloodiest battlefield in Irish history.”
He also stressed that it is important that local communities let the consultants working on the project know what local areas have to offer and to also to continue to express their support, in principle, for a cycleway linking Athlone to Ballinasloe to Athenry and right through to Galway City.
“However, the bridge over the Shannon and the link to Ballinasloe, also provides an opportunity to develop safe routes for children in South Westmeath, South Roscommon and East Galway to cycle to school as well as reducing their carbon footprint” , noted the TD.
The €8 million investment which is 100% funding for Local Authorities to accelerate this project, comprising of €4 million to progress the Athlone to Galway route and €4 million to bring the Greenway across the Shannon on a designated walking and cycling only bridge. The 4th bridge to cross the Shannon at Athlone and into the West is hopefully bringing all these visitors one step closer to Ballinasloe!
Senator Aisling Dolan is enthusiastic about the next phase :
“As a champion for Ballinasloe on the Greenway route - I look forward to seeing the cycle way options in January and that Ballinasloe could feature on 2-3 of these routes. 600 submissions during stage 1 for the whole route and 200 people who made submissions through my office shows that people see the benefits of the Cycleway for our town and surrounding areas. A pro-active and consultative approach with land-owners working with IFA Best Practice guidelines is crucial. If people have any queries please do contact the Greenway Project Team in town on (091) 509267 or myself on 086 3690719“
All public representatives believe Ballinasloe is a strong choice for next destination in the West and Hidden Heartlands along the Grand Canal and River Suck Blueways & Marina. The Cycleway will be fantastic infrastructure for our families and communities to walk and cycle bringing opportunities for off-farm income and tourism business transforming towns and villages along the way.
“We want a future that brings investment, tourism and opportunity. I will work to ensure that our County Development Plan reflects this vision for Ballinasloe area and that publicly owned lands along the Grand Canal and the River Suck Callows are used for development of environmentally positive projects to benefit biodiversity, quality of life and eco-tourism. By working in consensus with our communities and prioritising publicly owned lands where possible, we will deliver a Cycleway for the benefit of all in the West” explained the Senator.
For further Information on the project visit - https://www.galwaytoathlonecycleway.com/
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