LOCAL businesses and groups are to be encouraged to ‘Adopt a Road’ as Ennis hopes to improve its already impressive marks in the national Tidy Towns competition.
The scheme was unveiled at a meeting of Ennis Town Council this week, with councillors widely supportive of the plan. The meeting also saw concerns raised about the condition of the town’s laneways.
Environmental patrol warden, Gerry Murphy, outlined draft plans for the Adopt a Road Scheme to the councillors. He explained the proposal emerged as a response from Ennis Town Council seeking to improve marks under tidiness and litter in the Tidy Towns competition, as well as improving the town’s environment.
He explained that a designated stretch of road would be allocated to a business or community group that wished to adopt it and they would commit to a regular clean-up of their area. A permanent sign highlighting their involvement would be put in place at one or both ends of the stretch of road.
“The sponsors would agree with the council a litter maintenance programme for their particular stretch. We would support the sponsors in whatever they need, providing reflective jackets and tools and once the litter has been picked up, we will arrange for the bags to be collected. The benefits to getting involved, as well as improving cleanliness, is that it would be free advertising for their efforts and good PR and would bring a sense of pride to the community,” he said.
He added that some businesses have already expressed an interest in getting involved in the new scheme.
Town clerk, Leonard Cleary, added, “It is envisaged that Ennis Town Council could utilise the scheme to develop a partnership with businesses and the voluntary sector.”
He explained the project would be administered by the town council. “It aims to help keep the roads and laneways tidy and to give a sense of ownership to these areas. This type of scheme has been piloted in a number of other local authorities. It has been found to be successful.”
He went on, “The scheme encourages residents of the area to work with the businesses that are cleaning the area and the voluntary sector, that is, the Tidy Towns. This aims to bring everyone together, with the council removing the waste collected. This regular clean-up would eventually become the norm with all pillars of our community working together.”
While welcoming the move, Councillor Tommy Brennan stated, “It’s high time something was done about the lanes. People can’t walk down them without stepping on dirt and filth.”
Ennis mayor Councillor Peter Considine complemented the plans and said, “It’s very encouraging to see in these times, with talks of the abolition of the town council, that something like this has emanated from Ennis Town Council… I think it’s an appropriate legacy that this council can leave.”
Praising the work of the council’s outdoor cleaning staff, he emphasised that community involvement is vital to keeping the streets clean.
Councillor Michael Guilfoyle suggested that the town’s laneways could be used by local businesses to develop covered seating areas.
“It wouldn’t be a major job. We have to move forward and there is no point cleaning the lanes if we can’t get people down them. This would be some kind of tourist attraction. At this time we have to pull out every stop we can,” he said.
Councillor Brian Meaney stated that as much of the town is deemed an area of architectural importance, some property owners have experienced constraints in development plans.
“There should be some degree of latitude. We need to re-evaluate with the architectural officer what can and can’t be done,” he said.
Councillor Guilfoyle also voiced concern about the recent IBAL litter league results. “They criticised Ennis National School but I don’t know where they went because there are always little children there cleaning up. I take offence to what the survey said. I’ve been down there and I’ve never seen it.”
Councillor Mary Coote Ryan described the initiative as “absolutely brilliant”, while Councillor Mary Howard commented that the town’s laneways are “part and parcel of Ennis and it’s important people recognise them”.
Councillor Brennan called for a facility to be put in place at the Gort Road Recycling Centre for the collection of individual bags of rubbish.
“If a person wants to get rid of a bag of rubbish, they have to go all the way to Inagh. If there was a facility on the Gort Road, maybe we wouldn’t have as much bags thrown on the roadside,” he said.
Councillor Meaney stated that a proper waste transfer station is needed in the town, suggesting that the old landfill at Doora could be a suitable site.
Councillor Frankie Neylon pointed out that people who take part in clean-ups under the scheme would be covered by insurance, while Councillor Johnny Flynn described the idea as “very simple but one that should have significant impact”. He also urged that Clare County Council proceed with plans for new waste bylaws and that there be a change in the times for presenting waste for collection.
Town manager Ger Dollard commented that the Adopt a Road scheme “can only be positive”. He stated that suggestions for seating areas in the laneways “probably wouldn’t be a runner” as it could affect the passage of people.
He added that if anybody with property has issues with development plans due to Ennis’ architectural heritage, they should contact the council.
He pointed out that for the recycling centre to accept rubbish, a licence from the EPA would be needed, stating, “The difference between a recycling centre and a rubbish transfer is like chalk and cheese”.
Businesses or organisations that would like to get involved with the Adopt a Road Scheme can contact the environment section of Ennis Town Council at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 065 6828040 or fax 065 6828182.