Image via NI Water
Eoin Gilmore, Senior Capital Project Manager, NI Water explained:
“Silent Valley is a stunning site open for visitors to explore and enjoy, while also operating as a key strategic reservoir providing drinking water for a large part of County Down and the Greater Belfast Area.
“NI Water is keen to enhance the existing visitor experience, so everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the Valley, while also preserving the unique tranquillity the site offers. We want to hear what the local community and indeed the wider NI public would like to see at this site to make it a truly inclusive attraction for all.
“There are a variety of ways to engage with this process. A survey is available to complete online and a series of drop-in sessions with the opportunity to meet the project team have been arranged throughout May 2023.”
Engagement with the local community will develop ideas and concepts around the key themes of Inclusivity, Heritage Conservation, Education, Visitor & Recreation Experience and Partnership & Collaboration.
Martin Carey, Mourne Heritage Trust, explained the role of key stakeholders in the initial consultation process and going forward:
“Initial engagement with a variety of stakeholders identified the opportunity for Silent Valley to become, “A Living Valley, Shared By All”. The aim is to create an enhanced outdoor space that will provide residents and visitors with a safe and welcoming environment to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The input from local communities, organisations and individuals into this initial engagement process is vital in shaping the Masterplan to reflect the needs of current and future visitors to the Valley. We would encourage everyone to take the time to fill in the survey or call into one of the drop-in sessions and chat with the team.”
The Masterplan is expected to be available in October this year to coincide with the celebration event, marking 100 years since the first sod cutting of the Silent Valley dam construction works.
Members of the public are invited to express their views on the Silent Valley Masterplan by taking part in public consultations between Monday 22nd May and Tuesday 30th May at the following locations:
Monday 22nd May – Bracken Centre, Kilkeel (3pm – 8pm)
Tuesday 23rd May – Annalong Community Centre (3pm – 8pm)
Wednesday 24th May – Mourne Lodge, Attical (3pm – 8pm)
Thursday 25th May – Moneydarragh Hub, Annalong (3pm – 8pm)
Tuesday 30th May – Kilkeel Development Association, Kilkeel (4pm – 8pm)
For anyone unable to attend these meetings, an online survey has been created which can be completed by visiting: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SilentValley