By Conor Forrest
CLARIFICATION and an update has been sought on the ‘ongoing delays’ in the redevelopment of the Riverbank Arts Centre.
Such was the aim of a motion, tabled at November’s meeting of Kildare-Newbridge Municipal District, from Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy, who noted that Wexford Arts Centre and the Riverbank were both awarded €1 million in funding in 2017 and Wexford ‘has completed and recently launched’ its newly developed centre.
‘Following on from my report in December 2021, Riverbank Arts Centre redevelopment plan (led by design team Studio Red) has made significant progress over the last six months,’ Arts Officer Lucina Russell explained by way of a report.
‘The current design proposal by Studio Red has met with approval by the Riverbank Board of Directors and new venue director (Caroline Williams, appointed in April 2022). The design team has been instructed to complete the feasibility stage, with preparation of up-to-date costings for the new, expanded scheme, now being prepared by the quantity surveyor. Pending review and approval by the RAC board of these reports, stakeholder consultations on the design proposal will be held in December 2022 and January 2023.
‘Once the detailed design has been costed, funding options will be identified and pursued.’
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr McLoughlin Healy reiterated that Wexford Arts Centre has recently launched its newly developed centre and said it’s not clear why they’ve had such different experiences.
She asked when is it going to be shovel-ready, how far behind are they, how much more than the €1 million is needed, and how much has the delay cost.
Cllr Mark Stafford, who had a separate question looking for a progress report on the redevelopment of the Riverbank, noted that Cavan Town Hall was awarded funding at the same time and is also completed.
Ms Russell told councillors that the Wexford scheme goes back to 2009, that the Wexford and Cavan schemes were “neater” projects to deliver, and spoke of “comparing apples with oranges.”
She explained that the design proposal will be available next month and noted that the funding allocated was to enhance the seating, adding that the Riverbank has been asked to look at a greater masterplan involving flipping the building with the entrance on the ground floor.