Local walk and cycleway on track

The Westmeath walk and cycleway from Coolnahay Harbour, via Ballynacargy to the Longford border is a step closer.

Following presentation of a 10-page report to elected members, Cllr Avril Whitney seconded the motion which will see the project go out to public consultation.

She said there’s great potential to increase tourism to the Ballyncargy area and to the county in general.

The route, along the Royal Canal, is approximately 14km long, and according to the CEO of Westmeath County Council, Pat Gallagher, Waterways Ireland is fully behind the project.

The council’s director of services, David Hogan said there were a number of concerns raised about the project when it initially went out to public consultation, and that these have been addressed in the CEO’s report which is available online.

Funding of €700,000 from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has been put in place and is to be spent by September of next year.

Cllr Johnny Penrose proposed going ahead with the project and thanked the council staff for their work in bringing it this far.

He said the fact the council’s own staff will do the work is a great boost to the local authority.

Cllr Whitney described it as a good day when there’s talk about a recreational facility of this kind in a rural area.

She said she recently completed the Greenway cycle from Achill to Westport, which is the model behind this plan.

“I’m not the better of it yet,” she said, “but I still see the value in it. We’ll put it up to the West of Ireland when it’s finished and marketed properly.”

Cllr Paddy Hill, who admitted he’s only visited the Ballynacargy area in recent months for the first time, said it will be a beautiful facility in a beautiful part of the county.


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