The members of Ballina Town Council gave a general welcome to the refurbishment works that will be carried out on Pearse Street in the town, but expressed some reservations in relation to the time scale of the project and the positioning of the taxi rank during and after the process. Town engineer Michael O’Grady told the elected members that the public consultation period of four weeks and the submission period of another two weeks had now passed and that two submissions were received. The submissions were from the Ballina Taxi Association in regard to the position of the taxi rank in the future and Ballina Chamber of Commerce. O’Grady told the members that while the rank will have to be temporarily moved during the refurbishment process, the taxi rank issue was not part of this current process but would have to be dealt with under town council bye laws.
The Ballina Chamber submission was broken into a number of sections including loss of car parking spaces during the work, the time frame for the project, taxi rank location, loading bays on the street under the new plan, and the type of street furniture. O’Grady informed the members that in response to some of the questions raised in the Chamber submission, the loss of car parking spaces would be minimal during the process, there would be two loading bays included in the revamp which he felt would be adequate with one on each side of the street, and that the street furniture would be of a historic design most of which originates in Ireland.
Cllr Willie Nolan told the meeting: “I welcome this report and it’s going to dovetail neatly with the project in Market Square.” Cllr Tommy Cooke told the meeting: “This is a brilliant plan and going forward it’s going to make Pearse Street and Market Square the hub of the town.” The rest of the elected members gave their support for the project with the only major concerns expressed over the time frame of the project and to ensure that all lighting that is removed during the works be replaced.
Mr O’Grady told the members: “In relation to the time frame the road in question is under the control of Mayo County Council and the issue of the time frame is a matter for them, but obviously we will be involved in the process here and we will be speaking to all the stake-holders on the street about the works.” He also told the members that everything possible would be done to avoid any impact on the tourism season.