New facilities can help Fermoy get piece of tourism cake
The chairman of Fermoy Enterprise Board Michael Hanley, has welcomed the almost completed tourism and toilet facilities on Fermoy’s Ashe Quay and in so doing, has also called on those interested in the town’s future to 'get serious' about developing its tourism potential.
New male, female, and fully accessible toilets for wheelchair users will be included in the structure, as well as a centre for tourism information. “Having an information point stamps it as a public facility, rather than just a toilet,” Mr Hanley says.
He explains that Fáilte Ireland has said the block can be called a Tourist Office, rather than a Visitor Information Point. “The caveat is that it’s not selling anything. But it will be a hotbed of information, with a wifi area nearby.”
Mr Hanley believes that public toilets are often the first place tourists visit, and that attaching them to the tourism kiosk provides a natural link that will draw visitors in.
Citing a lack of tourism in Fermoy, he says that the community must make efforts to entice visitors.
“The time for nonsense is over. All of us with a sincere interest in this town need to get serious. Tourism is recognised as one of Ireland’s potential offerings in terms of jobs. We want a piece of that cake. It’s a beautiful town, picture postcard stuff. Where else would you get such greenery in the town centre?”
However, he also suggests a balance must be struck between that greenery and practical measures to boost the economy.
“We want to be mature, to insert progressive ideas to contribute to job creation without being harmful to the environment,” he said.
The information office will be operated as a joint venture, leased from Cork County Council between the Fermoy Enterprise Board and the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership who, Mr Hanley credits with having done 'tremendous work in tourism'.
It will employ two staff - one will be provided by the Department of Social Welfare through FÁS, and the other by the Tús initiative (which is a community work placement scheme for the unemployed).
At the rear of the unit, there will be a control room for an underground automatic pumping station designed to alleviate flooding. James O’Brien, project manager with Lagan Construction who are building the unit, explains that in the past, surface water gathered in drains would have no way to be released back into the Blackwater, but the new pumps will now provide that facility.
Senior Resident Engineer with Cork County Council Ger Barry, says that this will prevent the riverside inside the walls from flooding.
Thursday 11th September 5:21pm