THE Bower’s Walk in Ballinrobe has received funding of a further €100,000 on top of €100,000 Government funding, The Mayo News can reveal.
At a recent meeting of the Ballinrobe Community Development Committee (CDC), Cllr Damien Ryan announced funding of a further €100,000 for the walk from Mayo County Council’s Capital programme.
Cllr Ryan told the meeting that the €100,000 was put through the Council’s 2018 budget which was adopted in December,
Last week Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, TD, announced €100,000 for the walk which is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development. The plan provides funding for the creation of new outdoor recreational infrastructure such as trails, cycleways and blue ways, as well as the maintenance, enhancement and promotion of existing infrastructure.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Cllr Ryan said the €200,000 would finish the loop, bringing the pathway onto the Creagh Rd and back towards the town.
“It is not as costly as envisaged. We need to resurface the walk and hang a footbridge to connect the walk back onto the Creagh side,” said Cllr Ryan, who said he spoke to the local engineers who confirmed there is ‘enough money’.
“If we get this done, this will be a rollover programme and it can be enhanced more,” said the local councillor.
At the CDC meeting, it was unanimously agreed that works should include the entire resurfacing of the pathway and this should be indicated to councillors and engineers.
The efforts of local businessman David McDermott, Mayo County Council engineer Robert Coyne and local man Padraig Marrey were highlighted at the meeting, and they were thanked for their previous work.
Padraig Marrey said the biggest issues for the walk were accessibility for wheelchairs and push chairs and the uneven surface. He also said the addition of a pontoon onto the river, and a slipway, would open up the river for use by water sports groups.
“It will be opened up to everyone after the works are complete, families, wheelchair users,” said Marrey, adding that the history and biodiversity of the walk should be highlighted.
“There’s unusual species of bats under the town bridge and not a lot of people know you can access Abbey Street. At the moment, it isn’t a true ‘walk’ where you’re free from the road.”
The local adventure race organiser referred to making the walk part of the relatively unknown ‘Monks’ Trail’ which is currently under development, highlighting trails from Corr na Móna, all the way to Ballintubber, and on to Westport.
Marrey said it is up to the people of the town to make it work and to utilise it.
“People took it for granted … nowadays people are more into exercise. It ticks a lot of boxes and is one of the oldest river walkways in the country,” he added.