Councillor Brian Meaney has retained some of his ideals for the protection of the environment, despite his departure from the Green Party.
Having recently joined Fianna Fáil, Councillor Meaney has requested Clare County Council to consider the inclusion of a Green Infrastructure Plan as part of the draft 2014 to 2020 Ennis and Environs Development Plan.
In his most recent submission to the plan, the councillor said a strategic overview is required to identify existing and potential wetlands, rivers, streams, water bodies, flood control devices, walks, open spaces, undeveloped green areas and wooded areas.
He requested the authority plan for their connected development to assist in the environmental, social and economic sustainability of Ennis Town.
“A Green Infrastructure Plan should consider the value of these environmental and community resources. This consideration should balance and co-ordinate existing and future development.
“It is vital that Ennis Town continue to encourage appropriate development, while providing the framework and foresight necessary to protect, integrate and enhance the natural and physical environments into existing and future developments.
“Submissions should be sought on what extra policies are required to protect, integrate and enhance the Ennis and Environs natural and ecological resources, such as wetlands, streams, rivers, and ponds and the community’s open spaces and wooded areas.
“The green plan should evaluate the need for further protection of the Ennis and Environs visual resources such as the hillsides, ridgelines, scenic roadways and vistas. The Post Office field is one example of a wonderful visual resource in the town of Ennis,” he stated.
He noted other Green Infrastructure Plans provided for the continued protection of natural and aesthetic resources as well as identifying routes for walking cycling and routes confined to electric vehicles only.
He called for the provision of neighbourhood improvement districts where property owners make a collective contribution to improve their district in a previous submission.
He said any new development plan should ensure the protection of retail, social, cultural integrity of the town in the aftermath of the abolition of Ennis Town Council.
Responding to his previous submission, county manager Tom Coughlan said it is imperative now more than ever that policy objectives set out in the draft plan are cohesive and are based on a strong evidence base.
Mr Coughlan proposed the council look at objectives to improve public areas, including laneways and unused open spaces. He considered the visual appearance of Cooks Lane could be addressed as part of a policy for urban design.
While acknowledging his proposal for neighbourhood improvement districts is interesting, he considered it is better executed as an operational matter rather than through policy in the draft plan.