There was an excellent attendance at the ‘Solving Our Own Problems’ think-tank held in October in Bandon. The aim of the seminar was to address what the needs of Bandon are and how these can be addressed. Over 50 people attended the presentations on Friday, October 21 and over 40 participated in the workshops on Saturday, October 22.
“It was a great mix of people from different backgrounds and different ages and made for a very engaged and positive gathering. It was great to see so many of our young business people present and putting forward excellent ideas for the future of the town,” said local business person Maria McLaughlin.
Presentations were given by Will Brady, UCC Lecturer in Planning, (Traffic, Parking and Planning); Edmund O’Callaghan Head of Retail Management Studies at DIT (Retailing in Historic Towns); Ian Doyle, Head of Conservation at the Heritage Council (Heritage Led Regeneration); Josephine O’Driscoll, Client Services Manager, Failte Ireland (Tourism in Historic Towns); Giulia Vallone Architect with Cork Co Co and Simon Wall, Architect for Westport, Mayo Co Co (Managing the Public Domain and Historic Buildings).
“Simon has a great link to the town in the sense that he came to inspire us back in 2013 on that anniversary of the flood. When he sought inspiration for Westport he came to Bandon for it in the form of our own renowned and celebrated architect Billy Houlihan,” says Maria.
The main consensus at the seminar was that Bandon wasn’t doing as well as it should be, with many ideas mooted about why and how this can be overcome. The strengths and weaknesses of Bandon were also identified, however the strengths far outweighed the town’s weaknesses so one conclusion was that these strengths aren’t being highlighted strongly enough across the board.
A full report on the Seminar will be ready and published by February 2017, with hopefully a draft report ready before Christmas.
“Once the report has been published, we will be online to immediately apply for funding from the new Rural Development Scheme,” says Maria.
“Bandon has huge challenges to overcome with the disruption over the next few years but we are confident that the town will try to make the best of this urgent, essential works and come out one of the best towns to live in at the other end.”