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Latest Laois News: Portlaoise on road to low-carbon status but lack of Kilminchy bus shelters flagged.
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Latest Laois News: Portlaoise on road to low-carbon status but lack of Kilminchy bus shelters flagged.

This morning’s Portlaoise Municipal District (MD) meeting heard a progress report on the various low-carbon schemes either taking place or in planning for the county town.

The meeting was told the Portlaoise was and is the only town in Laois eligible for funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) due to its population. (For more info on the URDF click here.) As part of Round 1 of the URDF funding Portlaoise was allocated โ‚ฌ2.7 million for low-carbon interventions such as retrofitted public lighting and solar waste compactors etc.

Laois County Council (LCC) Director of Services Simon Walton also highlighted the other revenue streams that are available for low-carbon measures in the town. In particular he mentioned the funds from the National Transport Authority (NTA) that are available to the town as well. Simon told the meeting there are indications the NTA funds will be available every year from here on.

With all this talk of low-carbon initiatives Councillor Caroline Dwane Stanley brought up the issues of the lack of bus shelters in Kilminchy.

“A lot of people, especially older residents, are using the bus services there. The nearest bus shelter is almost a half a mile away. They are standing in all weathers. It is not acceptable. If we are serious about Portlaoise being a low-carbon, ‘Green’ town I am asking the Senior Engineer to progress this matter.”

The lack of bus shelters in Kilminchy was raised in this morning’s Portlaoise Municipal Meeting

In response Laois County Council (LCC) Senior Engineer Paul McLoughlin said LCC is actively engaged with the National Transport Authority (NTA) on this matter. Mr. McLoughlin did mention the turnover of NTA staff however as an issue.

Laois County Council (LCC) Senior Engineer Paul McLoughlin went through the low-carbon, ‘Green’ schemes about to commence or in the planning stage. Planning has been secured for Stage 1 of the Triogue Blueway which will connect the People’s Park to the Southern Circular Road. Works on Stage 1 are due to commence in the next few weeks according to Mr. McLoughlin. The Fr. Brown Avenue works are under development. Preliminary designs for this scheme have been completed in house in Laois County Council (LCC). Measures for the town’s Dublin Road are under review at present.

For the Mountrath Road some enhancements works have been carried out. LCC is considering further measures there and “analysing what the other measures should be.” For Phase 2 of the Trioque Blueway eco studies have been carried out. This phase will be subject to planning approval from An Bord Pleanala.

Mr. McLoughlin was able to tell the meeting that bicycles stands will be placed around the town. These locations include outside the AIB where between 6 and 8 stands will be located. Other locations include the ‘Top Square’ where between 8 and 10 stands will be placed and another 6-8 stands down in Lower Main Street near the Chocolate Brown Cafe.

Councillor Catherine Fitzgerald said that she looked forward to all these schemes being implemented. Councillor Caroline Dwane Stanley mentioned that one concern she encountered was bringing expensive bicycles into the town and their security.

“A lot of these bike stands will be in very busy areas. This should allay some of those fears.

Councillor John Joe Fennelly said this was great news for Portlaoise.

“It’s a huge proposal. Exciting times for Portlaoise. The Blueway will be a fantastic amenity. “

Councillor Willie Aird said that it was great to see this coming to Portlaoise at last.