Officials in Galway City Ireland are proposing to build a new roadw
ay through a unique & developing urban woodland known as the Terryland Forest Park that was promoted as our country's first 'People's Park' & as one of modern Europe's largest urban neighborhood woodland developments when it was launched in 2000.
Over a period of 4 years, tens of thousands of local people of all ages, though community 'plantathons', planted 90,000 native Irish trees in an effort to create a unique parkland of natural habitats, heritage features & recreational facilities on 160 acres, most of which was saved from the threat of built development.
The park was officially declared as the 'Green Lungs for Galway City'
& an important ecological corridor
winding its way through an urban area linking our main river (River Corrib) to the rural landscapes of east Galway.
The Park was managed by a community-based Steering Committee; it was envisaged that it would eventually contain 500,000 trees & become a fantastic riverine/woodland city centre park suitable for picnics, open-air concerts
, art workshops, Outdoor Classrooms
with nature trails, a community tree nursery & arboreal playgrounds
. It was also agreed that it would be become the location for a Forestry Interpretative Centre and an outdoor amphi-theatre suitable for staging drama and music concerts. Present habitat fragmentation
caused by existing roads was to be overcome by using building rubble to form mounds either side of the roads topped off by eco-bridges.
The importance of planting native trees in Ireland cannot be overestimated in a country that is the most treeless in the EU.
Sadly in the last few years the local council has curtailed the powers of the steering committee & stopped public events in the park. Now we are being presented with a proposal to build a road though its ground that officials
promote as a solution in solving traffic congestion in what is Ireland's most car-dependent city in Europe's most car dependent country.
Yet we see it only as an opportunity to open up still more ecologically sensitive lands for increased development & to support the expansionist plans of the nearby business parks.
The road plans will also be a slap in the face by City Hall to local people who have helped nurture an urban forest that is becoming populated by a myriad of wildlife such as pheasant, hare & vole.
Public commitments by council to the wider community should not now be sacrificed to suit the needs of some developers. Ireland is now suffering from unplanned urban sprawl caused by economic growth and population increase that is rapidly eliminating the greenness of a picturesque countryside that has been the legendary characteristic of the Emerald Isle since time immemorial.
We are also calling on the Council to re-instate a properly resourced community-orientated Park Steering Committee, provide a coterie of Park Rangers & implement an annual calendar of well-advertised family activities for the Park.
Our website address is www.friendsoftheterrylandforest.blogspot.com
We, the undersigned, disagree with the proposal before Galway City Council to build a roadway through the Terryland Forest Park as it will not help traffic flow in the city, will have a catastrophic effect on wildlife
by destroying a developing ecological corridor
& undermine the planned recreational and educational amenities
in what is referred to as the Peoples Park
and an Urban Cultural Woodland
It would also be a betrayal of the tens of thousands of children & adults
trees & bulbs in Terryland Forest Park since 2000.