CALLS were made for free wi-fi, later opening hours and the pedestrianisation of O’Connell Street at this week’s council meeting.
Economic director Pat Daly gave councillors an update on the progress of the €250m Limerick 2030 economic plan, which it is hoped will see huge swathes of the city redeveloped.
The biggest piece of news was the fact the council is set to seek expressions of interest in putting in the first building for the Revenue at the Opera Centre site.
But members chose to focus on wider issues.
Cllr Daniel Butler, Fine Gael, said the local authority needs to look at purchasing a multi-storey car park.
Party colleague, Cllr Michael Hourigan added: “It would be wonderful to get people back in the city, but if you listen to the advertisements on the radio on the Crescent Shopping Centre, the first thing you hear is they offer free parking.”
The northside member also called for smaller, more niche shops in the centre.
“People can visit Brown Thomas and Marks and Spencer in any city. We need more unique shops,” he said.
Cllr Butler also stressed the importance of balancing economic and social needs, emphasising housing. He was told this is dealt with in a separate department and would not be part of an economic plan.
Cllr Joe Leddin, Labour, called for an update on the public realm strategy, including crucially, the pedestrianisation of O’Connell St.
“If we want to get high-end retailers, it is important that we have realms which are of an acceptable standard. They are not at the moment,” he said.
With €16m granted to redevelop Colbert station over ten years, he also called for council action on the Hyde Road flats.
“We are at a hiatus here, and it is hard to get definite answers on this. There is no point in spending €16m when there is a derelict site beside it,” he said.
He called for free wi-fi for shoppers, somethingMr Daly said would be looked at in collaboration with the Chamber.