Nine things the new Castlebar councillors need to do

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019 7:00pm

Nine things the new Castlebar councillors need to do

WHEN the seven newly-elected members of the Castlebar Municipal District gather for their first meeting tomorrow afternoon, it's important they set down a defined five-year action plan.

It will focus minds in the same direction and prove to be in the best interest of community development.

When the former Castlebar Town Council was investing too much time and energy on heated and petty arguments some years ago, the decision to set down particular goals proved hugely beneficial over its latter years.

The development of Lough Lannagh as a community amenity, with the building of a bridge to link the Westport Road and Newport Road sides of the lake, was one of the success stories of that period.

So was the decision to proceed with the riverside walks project which has since linked into the Greenway to Turlough.

Perhaps the following suggestions can be taken on board for 2019 to 2024.

1. Restore the Imperial Hotel site and make it something special for the people of Castlebar. No need to outline its historical significance here, only to state that it has been left in a disgraceful condition for too long.

2. Extend the lakeside walk and create the long-awaited link between Castlebar and the Westport to Achill greenway.

3. Sit down with the Castlebar retail sector with a view to developing a unified approach to the revitalisation of the town centre ahead of the building of the new N5 project, which will bypassing the town.

4. While the renovation of the military barracks site has been put on the long finger due to the massive costs involved, the prospect of opening up the facility as a public car park should be explored in the short term.

5. Push for the early completion of the proposed joint plan for Castlebar and Westport in order to ensure it remains a top priority initiative.

6. Take a hands-on approach in attracting investment for a new hotel complex at a town centre site.

7. Ensure the completion of promised projects like the Youth Cafe in the old post office at Mountain View.

8. Launch a campaign to make Castlebar a ‘Green Town' to help end the scourge of indiscriminate dumping once and for all. Such a campaign would also engender a greater sense of community pride in the town.

9. The final suggestion is not to waste time on negative debating as positivity is the key to success.

That's quite a list, in fairness, but a coordinated approach over a five-year period could certainly make deep inroads with many of them.

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