FOUR extra housing estates will be included in the new €4.5 million Kinvara Sewerage Scheme after Irish Water approved a major extension following political pressure.
The estates, not originally included in the initial plan, include Cuan na Oir, Bothar na Mias, Dunguaire Haven and Ard an Mhuillinn.
The cost of these extensions is €485,895 in total, over and above the estimated €4.5 million, which will be needed to complete the public sewerage scheme. Work on the new sewerage scheme is scheduled to start in October.
At an average €6,650 per existing property, it compares well with figures previously used by Department of the Environment as a basis for similar extensions.
On this basis, it is expected that Irish Water will be able to proceed with inclusion of these estates, in tandem with the commissioning of the new treatment works in 2016.
Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins has claimed the water utility decided to include the four estates in the new scheme following her representations and noted it would now submit a request to the Economic Regulator (CER) to approve the proposal.
Senator Higgins said she recently met with a number of residents and business owners in the area to discuss the urgent and pressing need for them to be included in the sewerage scheme about to be developed.
“Each and every one of them expressed reservations about the scale and level of investment in the new scheme that potentially excluded them.
“It did appear that a number of residents would be left in limbo, which would have longer-term implications and potential costs for residents living in the affected estates,” she said.
Senator Higgins requested the intervention of Environment Minister Alan Kelly, liaised with Irish Water and requested that the plan be varied to include these estates or, alternatively, give some degree of commitment to include these areas specifically mentioned in a second phase of the sewage treatment plant.
The Labour Senator said she was delighted that the water utility plans to accommodate the additional areas, which she described as a “major step forward for the residents in these estates”.
“Longer term issues relating to their sewage treatment requirements will now be accommodated by Irish Water, rather than the residents having to foot the bill,” she said.
Galway East Fianna Fáil Deputy Colm Keaveney said the people of Kinvara have been waiting far too long for the resolution of this issue.
“I am delighted that following my several representations, Irish Water have decided to accommodate these works as part of the Kinvara Sewerage Scheme. This will also resolve some of the serious environmental concerns with regard to the water quality in Galway Bay.
“I am currently engaging with both Irish Water and Galway County Council to resolve other sewerage system issues in Craughwell and will be pushing to have the extension of the public scheme there included in the next round of capital development funding,” he said.
Councillor Joe Byrne has pledged to seek clarification on the situation concerning Nuns Orchard, as he believes this estate should also be connected to the new public sewer.
Describing Irish Water’s decision as “great news”, Councillor Byrne recalled residents and business have been campaigning for this extension for years.
“I am delighted that my representation, technical submittals, media interviews and media reporting has assisted in ultimately getting Irish Water to revise their plans,” he said.