Calls on council to set up body for Limerick Wetlands

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Fianna Fail Councillor Joe Crowley
FIANNA Fáil Councillor Joe Crowley has called on Limerick City and County Council to consider establishing an “appropriate body”, in order to tackle the issue of overgrowth and decreasing lake area in the Westfield Wetlands.

FIANNA Fáil Councillor Joe Crowley has called on Limerick City and County Council to consider establishing an “appropriate body”, in order to tackle the issue of overgrowth and decreasing lake area in the Westfield Wetlands.

The Limerick city north councillor said he wanted “with immediate effect” to allow the formation of the new body, with an input from “several agencies”.

He said the responsibility of the body would be to oversee the “provision of expertise, management and funding for this invaluable amenity”.

He commented that the “open expanse of water” in the Wetlands is “quarter of its size or less” in comparison to what it was in the 1970s.

“The impending reed growth will probably see the cessation of any visible water in the next 10 years or less. The establishment of this new body, in whatever guise it takes, will see the professional intervention from agencies such as Waterways Ireland, BirdWatch Ireland and others, with appropriate funding to completely overhaul and maintain this incredible oasis,” he said.

He said “incredible features” in Limerick city, such as the redevelopment of the boardwalks, walkways and “fantastic environmental features...stops short of our lakeland area”.

“This wholly new body would encompass all this and more. It would not be working against the Council, but for it, and in such a more dedicated way. The survival of this glorious feature, that is visited daily by schools and wildlife enthusiasts is crucial.”

He explained that the “complete repair and rebuild” of the riverbank, its surrounding pathways and a “vista enhancement” would be critical to this new body.

“I see the lake as even a focal point for the whole city to embrace, in the same way as the new Thomond Park is so visible from all around our great city.

“So I request the council to afford me the opportunity to come back with a definitive proposal including the necessary plans and supports in place to see such an undertaking to come to fruition.”

According to the council’s environment and water services there is an active Westfields Wetlands Groups with whom the council works.

In a report published in 2001, a number of recommendations have been made.

The department’s director of services said that it will require “significant specific resource provision” to undergo its full implementation.