Demolition work has started on a number of large disused buildings on Waterford City’s North Quays which have been the subject of controversy for years.
The 16-week demolition programme — which got under way yesterday — will clear the riverside site for development and includes buildings once used for milling by Odulums and silos formerly used by animal feed suppliers R&H Hall.
One of the structures involved has been used in recent years for the erection of large banners, including one to promote Waterford’s last hosting of the Tall Ships Races in 2011.
The landbank is owned by Waterford City and County Council and calls have been made for years for work to be done to clear the site, both to remove eyesores and possible safety hazards and to allow for re-development.
The council is retaining a 110-year-old nine-storey building, within the R&H Hall complex, for heritage value as it’s one of the oldest surviving steel-reinforced concrete structures in the country.
“The work now under way on the North Quays between Frank Cassin Wharf and the North Wharf will remove what has long been regarded as an eyesore in Ireland’s oldest city, especially since most port-related activity relocated to Belview in 1993,” said the mayor of Waterford City, John Cummins.
“In many ways though, the site clearance between now and early 2016 is just the first phase of the renewal story as the really exciting thing for me is the opportunity that this site — once cleared —will present for future development on the northside of the River Suir which has for too long been an under- utilised asset in our city.”
A possible use for the land is the development of “high-end office accommodation”, the mayor said, which would be linked to the city centre via a new pedestrian bridge.
Demolition Services Ireland Ltd of Derry are the main contractors for the project, which is being overseen for the council by Malone O’Regan Consulting Engineers.
The first phase of the works will concentrate on removing asbestos and waste electrical and electronic equipment from across the site so that it is safe to commence the main phases of the demolition.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved