Emergency service access, parking and traffic management were just some of the issues raised, at a public meeting held last Wednesday evening at St Pauls Parish Community Centre, looking into the proposed development of Walsh Park.
Around 200 people were in attendance including members of the Waterford County Board, a Consulting Engineer from Horgan and Lynch, members of the Waterford Gardaí and a number residents living near Walsh Park.
Tony Madigan Chairman of Manor Lawn Residents Association said it was a very constructive meeting, but it should have taken place before planning permission was applied for. He says the GAA are more concerned about what happens “inside the wall than outside the wall”.
He believes that if things were to stay the same and have no new traffic management system in place the new development would be chaos.
“They’ll be fighting on the streets because already some of the fans, not all of them, don’t care because they’re running late for the match where they park, then there’s confrontation with the residents. And what happens too is the gardai move from outside the stadium into the stadium”.
Sheila Horan who lives in Belvedere Manor says she is more concerned about construction traffic than the traffic on match days.
“You’re looking at 12 months day in day out, you’ll have all the construction traffic for Walsh park, there’s new social housing now going into the side of the old Presentation..there’ll be a bottleneck there, you’ll have the Presentation school primary and secondary, you’ll have the new social housing and then people going to work normal day in day out it’s going to be absolute chaos for the people in the area.”
Waterford GAA County Board Vice Chairman Sean O’Regan says that the board will certainly need to look at a new traffic management plan going forward, but he feels the issues raised can be resolved:
“There is a commitment that we will sit down with represenatatives from each of the areas along with gardai…we will work through some issues and I would hope that if everyone comes to the table with a positive look on trying to address each and every one of the issues. I think the overall feeling of the meeting from the speakers was all around the parking and match day traffic so we can work on that.”