Thursday, 14 November 2019

Ceisteanna (28)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

28. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the timeline to publish a report on the consultation process of the strategic review of the Phoenix Park by the Office of Public Works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46859/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Phoenix Park Visitor Experience Strategic Review is a non-statutory report prepared for the OPW to examine the current state of the visitor facilities and visitor experience within the Phoenix Park.

Over fifteen hundred observations were received following an extensive period of public observation which ran from 19th March 2019 until 31st May 2019.  The Draft review received considerable attention from the public, media and elected representatives and OPW warmly welcomes all those who engaged with the document and provided their valuable opinions and insights for our consideration.

Project Ireland 2040 identifies Phoenix Park Investment Strategy as a key deliverable within the National Planning Framework to 2040 and the National Development Plan 2018 -2027.

In 2018, Failte Ireland and OPW invested €400K in the development of a strategic review and plan for the future development of the visitor experience at the Phoenix Park. The core objective was to review the visitor experience and identify key areas, which needed enhancement to transform their experience of the Park.

The Review set out 29 distinct recommendations for the Park including the provision for conservation of the Magazine Fort, improved visitor facilities in the Visitor Centre, way finding, interpretation and the commission of a mobility study.

The ‘Draft Phoenix Park Visitor Experience Strategic Review’ also examined five distinct zones in the Park and considers themes of welcome, history and heritage, activity and wellbeing, identity, biodiversity and connectivity with the city to assess the current and future potential visitor experience at the Phoenix Park.

It ought to be appreciated that the draft review is not a formal development plan or strategy for the Phoenix Park. It is not a formal statutory document of any kind or part of a statutory public consultation process.

OPW remains open to, and indeed welcomes, any further observations and comments from any party. The Office of Public Works aims at conserving and enhancing the Park’s unique environments with creative policies to encourage access and opportunities for enjoyment, education and healthy recreation.

The OPW have engaged in a detailed process of reviewing all of these comments and observations and is finalising its report and analysis on all the submissions received regarding this Review. 

OPW plans to make this report available by the end of November. In this regard OPW hopes to meet with local TD’s and elected representatives to outline our shared aspirations for the Phoenix Park Visitor Experience and will contact all representatives shortly to arrange this.

The OPW will also publish this report on the Phoenix Park website (www.phoenixpark.ie) and make it available to the public.

Any proposed future conservation projects or enhancements to facilities will only be advanced with reference to the Phoenix Park Conservation Management Plan and the relevant statutory planning process to ensure the essential character of the Park is maintained. Such proposals will only be considered if they are consistent with existing management practices and if they support existing policy in relation to the management and operations of the Park.