Waterford City and County Council’s ‘Learn to Cycle Track’ in Dungarvan was announced as the winner of the Health and Wellbeing category at the recent Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards.
The Health and Wellbeing category recognises best-in-class efforts by a Local Authority to promote the health and well-being of its community, with initiatives such as active transport infrastructure, outdoor recreational areas, or development of facilities that enable and promote physical activities.
Ireland’s first outdoor ‘Learn to Cycle’ track was officially opened in Fairlane earlier in 2022 and the track gives young children the opportunity to learn to cycle on a ‘real life’ road structure with lines, signs, and pedestrian crossing without the traffic.
The track forms part of a burgeoning leisure area that contains a playground, a performance area and skatepark with the construction of a BMX pump track due to commence in 2023.
Kieran Kehoe, Director of Services and Dungarvan Town Manager commented, “Waterford City and County Council is delighted to have received this award and to be recognised by Chambers Ireland for its commitment to developing Dungarvan as a 'Smarter Travel' town.”
Waterford Council worked in collaboration with Waterford Sports Partnership (WSP) to bring the track to fruition. WSP delivers Cycling Ireland courses including balance bike training, disability cycling, sprocket rocket and Cycle Right in a completely accessible and traffic-free environment.
Peter Jones, Waterford Sports Partnership also commented, “This is a fantastic initiative to be involved with from Day One. To be recognised nationally for an amenity that ensures children, of all abilities, have a safe and accessible environment to learn to cycle safely, is a testament to the vision and dedication of all the stakeholders in bringing the cycle track to Dungarvan.”
Oren Byrne, President of Dungarvan and West Waterford Chamber of Commerce added, “It’s a wonderful addition to the local landscape, and judging by the number of children, their parents and schools who use the track, it really is giving our young cyclists the skills to safely cycle on our roads and encourage the use of sustainable transport methods, which will benefit the climate and environment.”
The overall cost of the cycle track was €50,000 with Waterford City and County Council receiving funding from the Local Government Fund and the Capital Grant Scheme for Play and Recreation administered by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth.
The Excellence in Local Government Awards showcase best practice in local government and recognise the skills, hard work, innovation, and enthusiasm within local government that can often go unrecognised and are held in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.