Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

285 MARKS (280 IN 2018) Com­mu­nity-Your Plan­ning and In­volve­ment

Wel­come Coolboy and thank you for your en­try form and map. Your hand-drawn map is very good, just a lit­tle small. Please spread it out onto a full A4 next year. Its lay­out is wider than long so it would prob­a­bly work in land­scape rather than por­trait for­mat. Well done on all your links within and out­side the vil­lage. You have a good num­ber of vol­un­teers to count on and lots of sup­port from lo­cal busi­nesses and pub­lic bod­ies. You clearly value the beau­ti­ful lo­cal­ity that you live in but we are sorry to hear of the loss of your post of­fice and the valu­able so­cial hub it pro­vided in Coolboy. Sadly this prob­lem faces many com­mu­ni­ties in ru­ral Ire­land now. Many are com­ing up with their own com­mu­nity based so­lu­tions so look to them for in­spi­ra­tion - ex­cel­lent Co. Wick­low ex­am­ples are The Vil­lage Pantry in Rath­dan­gan and The Hub in Kil­te­gan. The great com­mu­nity spirit you fos­ter with Coolboy and Dis­trict Tidy Towns means you have a strong base from which to find a so­lu­tion that will work for your vil­lage.

Streetscap­es and Pub­lic Places

Coolboy vil­lage was very well pre­sented on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day. The lovely lay­out of houses around the cen­tral vil­lage green is a won­der­ful fea­ture and full of char­ac­ter, es­pe­cially with the added in­ter­est of the south Wick­low slopes and hills.

Green Spa­ces and Land­scap­ing

You have a nice picnic area out the un­der the shade of sy­camore trees on the Carnew road. We can see that you have gone to the bother of plant­ing pol­li­na­tor-friendly plants in the beds here. How­ever, all around the planters, the picnic benches and the grass verges have been sprayed with her­bi­cide. Her­bi­cide overuse is one of the rea­sons why our pol­li­na­tor species are dras­ti­cally de­clin­ing in re­cent years. The un­nec­es­sary overuse of her­bi­cides in Ire­land in re­cent decades has con­trib­uted to the se­ri­ous de­cline in the pop­u­la­tions of our pol­li­na­tors. We have lost 17 per cent of our bum­ble­bees alone since 2012. So it’s im­per­a­tive that we do what we can by pro­vid­ing lots of food by way of long flow­er­ing herba­ceous peren­ni­als, leav­ing grass verges for their nest­ing habi­tats, let­ting wild­flow­ers flower in­stead of mow­ing and strim­ming them away and not us­ing poi­sonous her­bi­cides.

Na­ture and Bio­di­ver­sity in your Lo­cal­ity

The But­ter­fly gar­den was in­spected and only Bud­dleia was seen. The idea of a com­mu­nity but­ter­fly gar­den is a ter­rific one so well done on the con­cept, how­ever, a few guid­ance points are needed. Firstly, the river bank here is not the best spot as it’s a nar­row road here and doesn’t lend it­self to peo­ple stop­ping to ad­mire any but­ter­flies as this ad­ju­di­ca­tor found out! Sec­ondly river­banks are im­por­tant habi­tats and any kind of devel­op­ment on river banks needs to be ap­proached with cau­tion as soil move­ment etc. can lead to loose soils en­ter­ing the river sys­tem which can cause prob­lems to aquatic species. Thirdly while at­tract­ing the but­ter­flies, Bud­dleia is a prob­lem­atic in­va­sive species that is not rec­om­mended in the All Ire­land Pol­li­na­tor Plan be­cause of its in­va­sive habits! All that said, the idea of a but­ter­fly gar­den is lovely and please spread the idea to in­clude all other pol­li­na­tors as but­ter­flies are ac­tu­ally only a mi­nor group when it comes to the eco­log­i­cal ser­vices of pol­li­na­tion! Have a good look at all the won­der­ful ideas and guides freely avail­able to down­load at www.pol­li­na­­sources Most es­pe­cially print out the Pol­li­na­tor Plant­ing Code as this should be your go-to list for when­ever you are choos­ing plants - it has lists for ev­ery kind of sit­u­a­tion a Tidy Towns group can face and all are pol­li­na­tor-friendly. Then maybe you might con­sider pick­ing a more prom­i­nent spot in Coolboy to cre­ate a won­der­ful fea­ture of a but­ter­fly and pol­li­na­tor gar­den mak­ing sure ev­ery­one knows about how im­por­tant it is that we sup­port our be­lea­guered pol­li­na­tors. The Mill bridge area was ad­mired but it does need a colour in­jec­tion! Have a look at the Pol­li­na­tor Plant­ing code men­tioned above for a few ideas to jazz up the flower bed here. Your much-loved Horse Chest­nut tree on the Green is a won­der­ful fea­ture of Coolboy. You are clearly very fond of it but be care­ful how it’s treated! We no­ticed that a ‘Don’t lit­ter’ sign had been nailed into the tree. It is never a good idea to put nails or screws into a liv­ing tree trunk as this can re­sult in in­fec­tions which dam­age the tree, some­times fa­tally! Dis­ap­pointed to see her­bi­cide had been used all around grass verges here too. Your ef­forts to in­form Coolboy res­i­dents of the im­por­tance of wild­flow­ers are very com­mend­able but may we sug­gest other ways than pass­ing out wild­flower seeds? Wild­flower seeds are to be found in shops all over the coun­try now but they are prob­lem­atic in that nearly all the pack­ets are sourced out­side Ire­land and there­fore con­tain seeds of plants which are not wild or na­tive in Ire­land. This can lead to un­fore­seen prob­lems with plants be­com­ing in­va­sive or hy­bri­dis­ing with and chang­ing our own na­tive wild­flow­ers. In­stead seek in­spi­ra­tion for all sorts of

com­mu­nity projects to raise aware­ness at the above men­tioned pol­li­na­ web­site or per­haps make a com­mu­nity event out of rais­ing bio­di­ver­sity aware­ness with some­thing like a bat­walk fol­lowed by a com­mu­nity bar­be­cue or a lo­cal com­mu­nity Bioblitz.

Sus­tain­abil­ity-Do­ing more with less

Well done on the much needed wa­ter butts. This cat­e­gory can be a hard one to work with. Make sure to in­form your­selves on all the pos­si­bil­i­ties for projects in Coolboy. The Wick­low Co. Co. En­vi­ron­men­tal Aware­ness Of­fice will be able to help with in­for­ma­tion and in­spir­ing work­shops etc!

Tidi­ness and Lit­ter Con­trol

Coolboy looked very well on ad­ju­di­ca­tion day with sev­eral res­i­dents out do­ing their bit to clean up around the vil­lage. De­lighted to hear you had a T.Y. stu­dent work with you this year. Spread­ing the Tidytowns word to the next gen­er­a­tion is vi­tal for the fu­ture of all!

Res­i­den­tial Streets and Hous­ing Ar­eas

Good to hear that you li­aise with all the Res­i­dents groups in Coolboy. There is po­ten­tial for some of the green ar­eas to be mowed un­der a dif­fer­ent regime in or­der to en­cour­age wild­flow­ers to flower. Leave the first cut as long as pos­si­ble un­til at least the end of April and then only cut once a month af­ter that and you will be sur­prised at the num­ber of wild­flow­ers that will ap­pear with­out any wild­flower seeds be­ing sown! Lovely grass paths can be mown through to en­tice the walker.

Ap­proach Roads, Streets and Lanes

The en­trance road from Coolafancy fea­tures lovely stone gran­ite wall but un­for­tu­nately the base of the wall has been sprayed with her­bi­cide - this is un­nec­es­sary and un­sightly. Grass verges are very im­por­tant for pol­li­na­tor species nest­ing habi­tat so they need to be con­served. This is some­thing to be mind­ful of when strim­ming - leave the grassy base at the bot­tom of walls and hedges. Also be mind­ful of bird nest­ing sea­son when hedge cut­ting be­tween Fe­bru­ary and Au­gust in­clu­sive. Our feath­ered friends need all the help we can give them!

Con­clud­ing Re­marks

I en­joyed my first visit to pic­turesque Coolboy and look for­ward to a re­turn to see how you are get­ting on with your var­i­ous projects.

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