Portarlington’s 2020 Vision

Port’s 2020 Vision planners planners have ideas for job creation, gathered through workshops and public consultations.

Port’s 2020 Vision planners planners have ideas for job creation, gathered through workshops and public consultations.

Facilitated by Bord Fáite’s Damien Brennan - another of the Brennan brothers of RTE’s ‘At Your Service’. the tourism workshop came up with some clever steps, as Sean Quirke explained.

“We need to take bite size actions. We can develop a town guide online, and a phone app, outlining places to shop, eat, stay and see, with links to transport. We can deliver packages for visitors,” he said.

They suggest a covered public space, which would ensure that festivals or markets are not weather dependent. They also intend to build on the French Festival, adding an arts element to it.

Teresa Carter explained what steps the resilience group can take to make Port less vulnerable to external economic and environment problems. They include starting a ‘Grow it Yourself’ group, with a shop in the town for local produce. They suggest starting a ‘Mens Shed’ group, a place where men meet, work on their hobbies, exchange skills knowledge and enjoy a chat.

“We can make a directory of the 60 community groups in the town,” she said. Longer term, their goals are more lofty, and include a drive to get people to retrofit their homes with solar panels and wind turbines, and a community garden, house and shed for all to share.

Cllr Paul Mitchell spoke for the Agri-diversication sector, and said the IDA have told them they are not focusing on Port.

“If we want something done in this town, we have to do it ourselves. There is huge potential in developing food products. We can start a farmers co-op, helping cut costs by sharing resources,” he said.

Their goals for this year include starting a food and agri festival, and promoting Port as a restaurant town. Longer term goals include starting a food processing factory, putting the LovePort logo on local produce and a year round farmers market.

Mary Oakley and Mary O’Connell shared the presentation on education in Port.

They want to encourage Port’s 260 businesses to offer internships.

“There is a huge opportunity for job creation. This is a chance to upskill, and change direction. We will meet monthly and prioritise two or three projects. We want to make sure start up businesses work with existing businesses,” they said.