The following is the adjudicator’s report for Charleville in this year’s SuperValu Tidy Towns Competition, which this week gave the town an increase of 11 votes for 2017, up from 262 to 273.
Thank you for another great submission in the Tidy Towns competition. Your A4 map along with the accompanying key on the A4 sized sheet made your projects easy to find. Congratulations on winning the most improved Town Award in the Cork County Council Anti-Litter challenge. The community involvement is particularly evident the youth category and you are to be commended for your work in this area. So many of your projects involve the schools not just helping you but in the actual design of some of your excellent projects. The derelict house on Smith’s Lane project is certainly one to be proud of. You are aiming high and the community cooperation is taking your results even higher, from the original design of the bug hotel to the kids deciding it should have extra art decoration Working with the county council is important to achieve both of your aims. We were pleased to note that the number of poster being affixed to poles is decreasing as a result of your work with the County Council removing such posters. It is wonderful that you are experiencing what you refer to as “exceptionally positive feedback across the board in the community”. We join you in hoping that this will translate into more active participation in Charleville Tidy Towns
Built Environment and Landscape (41 points, up from 38 last year)
Your lovely wide streets are very well presented, generally free from clutter. Charleville does not appear to have as many derelict shops as would be found in other towns of its size. There are some very well kept impressive buildings such as Murry & Son Ltd. The appearance of this street will certainly improve if your current target of over 70% of buildings interested in participating in the street painting programme is achieved. We look forward to seeing the results. However it was surprising to note that the Tourist information sign on the Main Street was in such bad repair. Your fountain project is particularly innovative. It is a wonderful concept to marry the two major industries in Charlevill; dairying and stainless steel manufacture. Your pictures helped highlight the many stages that it took to put this in place. The milk churns on the cart emphasise the community identity of being a part of the Golden Vale. A great example of businesses, public services and community coming together to create a centrepiece which reflects part of what is best from the town. The derelict house on Smith Street was fully finished by day of adjudication. The wonderful window displays were an extra nice touch. The photos of the before and after of the new footpaths at Farm Gate and Kimallock road junction East truly demonstrate the amazing improvement. It creates a more useable street. The photos show how cars used to park on the footpath where now there is a lovely demarcation.
Landscaping and Open Spaces ((32 points, 31 in 2016)
Your park is a fantastic community open space. The different age appropriate playgrounds from the very young, to teenagers right up to the bright yellow well-kept equipment for adults ensures something for all. However one of the pitches seemed to have been allowed to let the grass grow a bit longer which would hinder some games. We hope that this is a temporary measure. The open space opposite the fountain was a beautiful array of lavender and simply buzzing with bees. We used our pen to put in the sun dial as the pointer and it did seem to work! It is difficult to imagine the Library plaza area being anything but the haven it currently is. The new panting in this area really finishes it off nicely and enhances the area as a place to relax. Seating areas are so important as they provide a very important social resource. The colourful murals provide a wonderful backdrop to this communal space. On day of adjudication it was being highly utilised. The Garden of Remembrance is very well maintained. No weeds were noted here. The rockery could benefit from some structure at vertical stages, e.g. short logs across the soil to prevent heavy rains carrying the soil away. Once again your school students have done you proud with the shrubs at the entrance to St. Mary’s School. The before picture here help highlight the transformation. These low maintenance shrubs have a great softening effect.
Wildlife, Habitats and Natural Amenities ((26 marks, 25 in 2016)
The park was alive with birdsong. Many wag tails were noted. The information boards produced by the transition year students of St. Marys highlighting the different birds and trees were admired. Maybe for the tree board take one the current inserts out and insert a child friendly poster explaining the importance of creating habitats for our local flora and fauna. You mention that you chose boards with Perspex covering so that you could change the display as was needed. This is a wonderful idea as it keeps people interested and engaged. Not every Tidy Towns committee will have the expertise nor know-how as to what resources it currently has. You were fortunate to have a local ecologist to assist you. The Japanese knot weed” Do Not Cut” signs were spotted. It is great that the importance of keeping this under control is understood and acted on. The wildflowers outside O’Sheas are probably not having your desired results yet. However, not all projects work all of the time. The wildflowers at Canon Burke Place are certainly thriving.
Tidiness and Litter Control (50 marks, 49 in 2016)
The work you have carried out on the edges of the footpaths and roads is evident. Some excellent examples include the old Cork Road. A high degree of litter control was evident in main streets and in the housing estates. Your co-ordinated approach here is having the desired effect.
Sustainable Waste and Resource Management (18 marks, 16 in 2016)
You are starting to take a very structured approach to this category which is to be commended. It is one that many groups struggle with. Sometimes starting with a blank page can be so off putting for groups. Don’t forget help is at hand. Check out the Tidy Towns website for more ideas. Best of luck to the talented CBS students as they take their The “Ditch your Carbon Cup Print” project to the National Final of the Eco UNESCO Young Environmentalist’s Award Your new water harvesting project was installed around the back of the library. We would be interested to see how much water this does save.
Residential Streets and Housing Areas ((30 marks, 29 in 2016)
As mentioned above, your continued work with many of the housing estates is enhancing your town, with well-kept grass verges, green areas and mainly litter-free areas. Well done to Hill View Drive on their big clean up. The area was looking well on day of adjudication. Brightly coloured houses were noted in Batt Donegan place. The children were making good use of the green areas. However some trees at the back need to be replaced. The old stone walls did look well. Ensure that when you are cleaning them that it is in an environmentally friendly manner. They are an attractive feature but their nooks and crannies are also a haven for insects.
Approach Roads, Streets and Lanes (37 marks, 36 in 2016)
As an historical market town, lanesways are a part of your heritage. They can sometimes create an eyesore so it is always appreciated when groups take on a project to help rejuvenate these. Well done on this. The landscaping at the Amber service station provides a smart welcoming feature. The HSE building has a lovely avenue of trees and some good planting leading towards the industrial estate. The verges along the graveyard are very well kept The red and white flowers on the walls of the GAA must be extra special to residents, by providing extra county colours in addition to helping brighten up this dull wall. Broad Street looks like it has already benefitted from a recent painting upgrade including the Charleville and district childcare and family education centre. The Limerick Road was looking well. The screening was noted and is in good condition. We appreciate that it is not always possible to follow up on adjudicator comments such as trees may not be possible at the IDA industrial estate. Maybe even just painting the gates would provide a more welcoming aspect to this area.
You certainly took on a wide variety of projects this year. Congratulations on getting so many people involved. We wish you continued success into the future.