Arklow’s Duck Pond, Nature Walk and Leisure Area won a top award in the 2015 Excellence in Local Government Awards beating off competition from around the country.
The 2015 Excellence in Local Government Awards, in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, are held to recognise and celebrate the outstanding work being carried out by Local Authorities all over Ireland.
The Arklow Duck Pond won the award under the Parks and Recreations category. Other entrants came from Cork and Dun Laoghaire.
Commenting on the win, the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr John Ryan, stated: “I am delighted that Wicklow County Council, and particularly Arklow Municipal District, have been recognised nationally for this project. It is recognition of the fact that so many people in the community are delivering great work on a daily basis and I’m glad it hasn’t gone unnoticed but rather has been held up as a national example of excellence by the judging panel.”
The Cathaoirleach of Arklow Municipal District, Cllr Sylvester Bourke, also congratulated everyone involved in the project.
The award was presented to Wicklow County Council by Minister Alan Kelly and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland.
Wicklow County Council, together with many community groups, has worked to improve the area in Arklow for locals and tourists. The Duck Pond measures 1km in circumference, is ideal for those interested in wildlife, leisurely walks or keeping fit and is used by young and old alike, night and day.
It is a project that has been developed by the local authority with assistance from many community groups over a number of years. It provides a diverse mix of amenities including Howards Way Sli na Slainte, seafront walk, crazy golf, outdoor gyms, skateboard park, playground, and running track.
A number of events are held in the area throughout the year such as a Haunted Halloween Treasure Trail and Environmental Treasure Hunts while an annual Bat Walk takes place during Heritage Week. The public can also visit Seaview Garden which is a very attractive sensory garden planted and maintained by volunteers from local services.
There are a series of “Nature Trail” signs around the Duck Pond which give information on flora and fauna and are designed to take visitors around the lake while pointing out some interesting points about its biodiversity. The signs have been attached to granite blocks which were taken from the Pier Head following restoration works.
The project is managed and maintained by Arklow Municipal District with assistance from Sunbeam House Services, National Learning Network, Arklow Men’s Shed, Arklow Tidy Towns, Arklow Coastcare, Transition Year Students, Women of the world, Community Services, Age Action and Arklow Volunteer Centre. These groups are involved in projects that maintain and increase biodiversity of the lake along with educational projects in the area.