Recent works at Kinvara Pier to facilitate the installation of holding tanks for the new sewage treatment facility has caused the area to be dramatically altered by the removal of the green area and replacement with a ‘temporary’ tarred over space which is now being used as a car park for coaches. Residents have been told, while it is within the contract of Coffey Construction to reinstate the green, that plans are afoot to change the layout in order to facilitate additional parking facilities for coaches and cars. The current layout is apparently to allow for settlement of ground after the works that have been done to date and it could be left for up to nine months in its current state.
Local residents are very distressed by this development and claim that the proper planning process has been ignored. The quay in Kinvara is an area of great beauty and rustic charm. Few towns in Ireland can boast such a beautiful setting. Furthermore, Kinvara Pier is a Protected Structure under the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and therefore any proposal to alter its surrounds have to be scrutinised with care by both the planning authority and the community to ensure that the character of the area is not damaged.
The residents acknowledge that the issue of the need for a car/bus/coach park in the village is ongoing and increasing with the rise in tourism but argue that parking needs to be planned within a whole village context in a traffic management plan with public consultation. They contend that the traffic problems will not be solved by changing the attractiveness of the quay area to facilitate two-way car, camper van, minibuses and larger coach traffic and a few more parking bays, commenting that the original green acted like a roundabout or traffic island and made traffic slow down thus ensuring safety. It also limited parking and prevented buses from double-parking for drop offs (as has been witnessed in recent weeks). There is a very real worry that leaving the pier in its current state for up to 9 months is creating a precedent that the pier area is suitable for parking buses and cars. As a community, the residents feel that they are being put under pressure to forget about the original
green space and to consider other layouts and are very worried that this precedent will facilitate plans to turn the pier area into an official car park or coach park in the future.
The residents have formed an action group, Save Kinvara Green, to raise awareness about the issue and to call on Galway County Council to engage with the locals about this critical change to the aesthetics of their village. They have gathered over 500 signatures to date on a petition calling for the reinstatement of the green area and will be holding a public information meeting on Weds 17th August at 8 pm in St. Joseph’s primary school hall. All interested parties are welcome to attend and the group urges people who are concerned about the development to come along and let their voices be heard.