Funding to the tune of €3.6 million has been approved for upgrading works to the Freshford/Johnstown and Goresbridge sewerage schemes.
Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan made the announcement at The Square in Freshford on Monday morning. Work on the schemes is expected to start early in the new year.
Chairman of the Freshford Heritage and Development Group John Barnville said that the works would encourage development into the village. “We have been calling for this for years - there is a great need for it. The development group has been heavily involved in pushing this forward along with the now defunct Freshford 20 20 group. Gerry O’Reilly was one of the main drivers and was instrumental in pushing it through,” he said.
The Minister welcomed the funding and described it as ‘an opportunity for residential and business growth’.
“The three villages currently have treatment facilities which are no longer able to treat wastewater to the required standards, and the construction of new wastewater treatment plants and associated works will result in both an increased treatment capacity and an increase in quality so that the sewerage system for these villages meets the requirements for effluent standards.” said the Minister. He added that ‘this is another step towards improving the wastewater infrastructure in this part of Kilkenny while at the same time maintaining and improving environmental standards’.
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Pat Dunphy congratulated all those involved and praised them for their committment in ‘driving the project forward and making it happen’ and thanked Director of Services Philip O’Neill and Joe Crockett for ‘all their hard work’.
Cllrs Catherine Connery, Mary Hilda Kavanagh, John Brennan, Maurice Shortall and Pat Millea also all welcomed the announcement and local parish priest Father Pat Comerford said that is was ‘a good news story for Freshford’.
Cllr Kavanagh also remarked how the works would allow Johnstown to develop as a village.
“Fortunately we escaped the excesses of unfinished estates and ghost estates but you still need a critical mass of houses to keep shops going and the infrastructure will allow this,” she said.
The Freshford works will consist of a treatment plant on a greenfield site, pumping station, storm water holding tank and storm overflow pipe and a treatment effluent outfall pipe. The Johnstown/Goresbridge works will consist of the construction of a wastewater treatment plant on each of the sites. The Minister noted that these works will allow villages to develop both economically and demographically while preserving the quality of the river network and wider environment.