Thank you very much.
Apologies from Brendan McGrath, who is our Chief Executive.
He’s out sick. Or he’s just back at work but he’s not fully recovered.
He was due to take this session. So apologies from him.
My presentation, I will keep it tight as possible.
You have very distinguished speakers ahead of me,
so I will get my session through as quickly as possible.
Laura mentioned that the EPA are the frontline,
but I think the local authorities are the front-frontline.
We are basically the people on the ground that deal with
various issues around the environment and around health and wellbeing.
I have a number of slides,
What I will do is, I will talk through the slides
just to give you a context of where the local authority is coming from,
its role in the whole development of a city and the well-being of its citizens.
I will talk to the overall role, the purpose of local authority,
the strategies, and I will give a number of examples.
In the context of people, I’m sure they are aware,
but in the context of the activities within local authorities, there’s a huge range.
And I have set out the various functions
that are within local authorities throughout the country.
And again the local authority doesn’t act on its own.
It’s an enabler and it’s a whole record
down through the years of working with other state authorities
and private institutions.
When you look at the whole question of the activities,
they transpose and affect all people’s lives.
And to an extent they are below the radar.
For instance, transport, infrastructure, those core issues,
recreation/amenity, planning and development, the whole question,
the city development plan, county development plan,
will set out the strategic development of an area for a 6-year to 20-year period,
which is linked in then with the role of the elected members
who deal with the policy issues and the executive themselves implement it.
So you have the democratic mandate there,
which local authorities have.
Under the economic development and enterprise for local authorities,
that is a new and expanding role,
again which will be led through local authorities.
Community development addresses the issues of day-to-day lives,
how the community lives, the interaction and the arts,
culture, housing, water service, environment are all issues
that we have to interact with on a daily basis.
In fact the water services are run now by Irish Water
and that in turn shows the liaison that we have within local authorities
of working with other institutions and not one
public body will deal with the issues that we face.
So it’s a combination of all institutions working together.
And it requires joint thinking, and no one organisation can address issues on their own.
Just going through, the key purpose of local government
is to promote the wellbeing, quality of life in the public and communities.
And that is the continual focus across local authorities throughout the country.
It’s to develop the environment,
develop the whole areas that people live in,
the communities that they come out of
for the betterment of society in total.
What we want to do is create places that people want to live in, work in and visit.
And that comes across with the various functions,
with economic development, with the recreation and amenity,
the whole question of the transportation,
the sustainable transportation issues that we deal with,
the whole question of getting the wellbeing of people,
getting people out of cars, creating the walking,
cycling strategies, the use of bus transport.
And unconsciously in the functions that local authority deliver
we are addressing the health and wellbeing of the public on a daily basis.
And in that it’s important to influence policy formation
which we do through the political format,
that is with the local elected members
and in turn with the Oireachtas and Dail deputies.
Just going through the strategies and policy documents
that are embedded within the local authority system,
you have the Galway City Development Plan,
development plans are a 6-year document
which set out the strategic and sustainable development of an area.
And within that you have all of the strands of society,
the interaction that the public has, that we have as daily citizens.
And again we have the democratic mandate there,
that policy document is adopted by the elected members
and implemented through the Executive.
The local economic and community plan,
that brings in the community development,
the economic development of an area,
and again it’s a document that is brought through the system.
Biodiversity, that brings you into the whole area of the quality of life
that you have within a community.
It brings in the whole question of parks, open spaces, where we live.
Laura referenced there the question of the greening of an area,
the provision of a landscape which is good for your wellbeing,
good for your health.
They are key issues and key documents
that are being rolled out through local authorities.
And the cultural strategy, that brings in the recreation,
the amenity, the cultural development of an area,
the wellbeing under those areas.
Also you have the question of the tourism strategy,
the public realm strategy, public realm goes right throughout planning.
How do we create better areas to live in?
Quality of life, that brings in job creation, to get jobs into an area.
Key issues from international companies,
is there a good quality of life here,
will the employees that I take on, young employees,
will they stay in the area?
So they are key issue, and public realm strategy goes
towards creating a better area and a better community.
Transport strategy which I have referenced,
that goes down to the whole question of the use of the public transport.
Getting people, you are trying to change a generation,
get people out of cars into public transport.
You have to create the environment for that change
and it’s a whole change of strategy.
The climate change, again which is just emerging,
and some of these strategies are quite difficult to sell politically
and also I suppose in a day-to-day life,
but the climate change strategy is an important document
that will bear fruit over the next number of years.
And I think what brings it to
public attention is the flooding incidents which we had last Christmas.
And people then ask the question, how do we manage climate change?
What is climate change and how do we address it?
So they are looking for answers.
But with the strategy that’s being rolled out now,
encompassed in that will be all different organisations,
working together to bring forward solutions to address that.
They won’t be short-term, but the long-term.
But now is the time to commence.
Underpinning all of those strategies are bye-laws
which are implemented again through local organisations,
through the government departments.
And just going down through the one particular example,
which I referenced in Galway City, is the local economic and community plan.
It’s got five high-level goals
which I just reference there,
to promote Galway as a world-class creative city,
innovative city, ensure it’s equal and inclusive,
encourage sustainable, resilient, urban environment development.
That ties in with the development plan which is the key document,
which sets out your policy, and out of that flows your everyday,
let’s say management.
And promote health and wellbeing of all people,
and that flows right through the document.
Just to reference there quickly, local authority initiatives linking
health, wellbeing and sustainability.
And again these would be referenced by a previous speaker.
Management of public spaces,
I think it’s a key environment for the wellbeing
that people are happy where they live.
That they live in a good quality environment,
that the public realm is of a high quality.
And that in turn feeds into the people enjoying their area,
being good community citizens as such.
There’s a huge connection with the environment,
with your wellbeing and with the way you react.
And in particular, under my particular directive,
we have the whole housing area and the social housing.
And social housing is about developing…
bringing social housing for people who can’t afford,
but the key is the social inclusion to that,
a proper mix in there, not to create ghettos
where it’s continually of one social economic strata.
And it’s to get the proper mix.
But it’s all about the planning of it and the rolling out of that.
The environment awareness education, Local Agenda 21,
community gardens, planting initiatives, water quality,
sports, promotion of smarter travel, planning and development,
which all of those areas feed into improving your physical environment
that you live in, improving indirectly the wellbeing that we are reference to.
Just the projects, in regard to health and sustainability
that local authorities roll out, you would have the Smart City Initiative
and in the next slide I have details on that.
Street lighting upgrade, the green map of a city or of a county,
to encourage people to go out and explore and discover areas.
The European Green Leaf, which Galway city is for 2017,
and that is environment awareness, waste management,
litter management, initiatives under that heading.
The European Region of Gastronomy,
age friendly imitative there, which has been referenced earlier,
the Purple Flag, which is for night-time safe use of a city.
And the various projects under Culture 21,
LAPN with its initiative under waste management
and the link again to the Healthy Cities Project
which has been led out through the HSE in Galway city
and input into the alcohol strategy.
My time is running fast...
As a smart city there, the whole idea is to promote the concept of smart,
sustainable and inclusive growth,
formal arrangement between Galway City Council and Insight in NUI,
and joint funding applications.
And you are looking at various initiatives on the smart healthcare,
smart citizen, smart building, all of those.
And it’s how we can develop those and expand those terms.
The Galway Age Friendly is working with the group on that,
Age Friendly Business, walkability audits, access for all.
And that is to look at the way we develop our community
and to provide for age, in a sense for lifelong adaptability.
So that when you are doing your planning for an area,
you are not planning for young, you must plan ahead,
plan for middle-age, old-age, the whole thing is taken into account.
And you are conscious of it. And the accessibility as well.
So that you are not retrofitting something back in 20-30 years’ time.
You incorporate the age-friendly into all future planning policy
and development and age-proof it.
And that is proving a very worthwhile exercise, and a focus,
and a consciousness that wasn’t there previously.
Under the Galway European Green Leaf 2017 designation,
again it’s for cities with 20,000-100,000 population
and it goes down to, what’s your record and commitment to green growth?
What is your record regarding providing parks,
open spaces, creating the correct planning mix?
Not alone are you building your houses,
but you are also planning how do you live there?
How do you build communities?
And this Green Leaf
is acknowledgement in the case of Galway city,
of the strong environmental awareness
and citizen engagement which is crucial.
And act as a green ambassador
promoting the best environmental practice,
and in the case of Galway city,
under waste management we are quite proud
that we rolled out the three bin system under waste management.
It must be up on 12 years ago,
and the whole pay-by-weight was in Galway city there,
prior to going national.
We are ahead of the game somewhat in that.
The other issue is the whole collaboration.
It’s key that you get involvement.
And this includes the political element as well.
And it’s also the element of engaging the citizens on the ground.
And taking on board what is said,
and taking on board what they feel they require.
And I suppose just my final and just up on time my final issue is
the Climate Summit, the old issues around that.
One final word on the climate strategy,
from a political point of view, that is going to be a big sell.
It is a slow process to get the conscious,
to get the awareness out there,
regarding the importance of climate change
and the importance now
of addressing the whole issues around that area.
Thank you, Chair. Thanks very much.
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Local Authority Health & Sustainability Activities