Thursday, 23rd November 2017
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Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

“Keep it clean and keep it green!”

“Keep it clean and keep it green!” could very well be the motto for our wonderful new Waterford Greenway. I ventured with my trusty steed, onto a very wee part of this 42km ribbon of regenerated old rail track, on a quiet Friday afternoon. My unicycle, shod in its skinny unforgiving road racing tyres, is not really suited to most of the surfaces to which its rubber would be exposed.

“Slowly, slowly catchee monkey”, were the wise words of wisdom ringing in my ears.

As two Lyrca clad MAMILS, gingerly accessed this amazing piece of tourism infrastructure at Kilmacthomas, we’d carefully wound our bikes up to nowhere near their top speed. Very conscious that we could meet walkers, joggers, buggies, dogs and other bicyclists. In fact we only met three walkers on our small excursion. But, as the surfaces went from smooth tarmac to rather rougher stone and chip, we decided that egress at the next junction, was the wisest budgetary option.

There is no doubt that the Greenway is more suited to chunky mountain bikes, hybrid bikes and the new cyclocross bikes. All of which have wider tyres and better frame clearances than regular road racing bikes. We all of course knew this, but I just had to try out for myself, on that quiet overcast Friday afternoon.

I am pleased to report that the section tried, appeared almost litter free. I could see no significant signs of the dreaded “Doggy poop”, which seems to afflict all manner of public realm spaces, across the whole City and County for that matter.

Another reason I tentatively introduced my Cube to the Greenway, was to see and sample, for myself, the current rumpus about people using this newest of tourism experiences. You could not have helped noticing, that “Bad Greenway practices” have been splashed across social media, given vast column inches, in the local newspaper print and lots of on air chatter on WLR FM. In fact, on a very recent local radio programme, a listener had text in to effect that basically, “All cyclists should be banned from the Greenway!!!!!”

Well these few words, caused an avalanche, agreeing all cyclists are simply the reincarnation of Satan. Should you be unlucky enough to be caught in wearing cyclists Lyrca, you must be hung, drawn and quartered immediately. Or be sent to jail, “Do not pass go, do not collect €200!” This hatred, shown by many hiding behind anonymous profiles, never ceases to amaze me.

But the simple fact, for all our naysayers, is that our new Greenway will attract more and more people on two wheels. Something to accept we are to reap the success from this amazing revenue attractor. Already making such a difference to the fortunes of places like Kilmacthomas, Durrow and Dungarvan. Once there is a real and indisputable connection to Waterford City Centre, we will see further benefits coming to more businesses from the “Pedalling Euro”.

I was interested to see if our world leading capacity to moan, groan and grip about positive news was catching. Low and behold it was!

The new roof, which is nearing completion on the Apple Market, is getting an equally bad press.

This very large public realm project, will provide a covered space generating so many opportunities. Yet the roof design and cost are both being pilloried by I suspect, the same people complaining about those using the Greenway.

Too expensive (paid by commercial rates etc)! Money should have been spent on the hospital Cath Lab (different budget centres)! The metal work (despite not being finished) looks crap! Will attracted undesirables (will be properly policed)!.....and so on.

Our ability to mock, deride and engage in diatribes, about our positive opportunities needs to stop.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Let us embrace these positive changes and wait to see how things work out, before we start shouting, bitching or criticising.

In the meantime, ALL users need to start looking after our shiny new crown jewels. Everyone needs to ensure that we “Keep it clean and keep it green!” for future generations.

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