Cllr David Grant concluded his year as Cathaoirleach of Bray Town Council, at the Annual General Meeting of the Local Authority on Tuesday 14th June 2011, by reflecting on the year gone out and the progress made on important issues facing the town.
 
“Every person that has served as a public representative in Bray quickly becomes aware, beyond their own horizons, of the vast number and array of community, voluntary and business organisations that do so much to make Bray a prime location to live in, to work in and to relax in. 
 
As Cathaoirleach the role has allowed me go beyond that awareness and become deeply involved with local organisations and work with them on issues that they consider important.
 
Such involvement has; brought many items to the agenda of this Council, developed policies and projects behind the scenes, secured of a number of funding initiatives, hosted civic receptions recognising the contribution and achievements of individuals and groups in the town and officiated at functions representing the town” said Cllr Grant in his opening remarks.
 
The Town Development Plan adopted unanimously early in the year and now in force is undoubtedly the most significant policy that will be passed during the lifetime of this Council.  The measures that have been adopted and the changes that have been made to the previous plan will encourage development in areas of the town that need it most.
 
Other policies passed included the Council’s policy on dealing with anti-social behaviour, new tenant purchase scheme, use of the seafront, the prohibition of motorised vehicles on public land and the possible boundary extension to the municipal area.
 
The closure of some chapters and the opening of others also happened during the year.  Most notably the final signing of the lease agreement with Wolfe Tone Youth Club which will allow the club to get ahead with its long standing plans to develop a top class sporting facility for young people in the town.
 
A number of new projects have also been commenced and will be brought before the Council shortly to be progressed.  Bray’s new website Bray.ie is nearing completion and will be launched in the coming weeks, work on the policy to promote Bray as the location in Ireland to learn English will see that item back on the agenda after the summer break, the new development contribution scheme will be discussed soon and the Dargle Flood Protection Scheme which is ready to go.
 
The €30 million for the Dargle Scheme and the further almost €4 million for the Dargle Bridge works and further streetscape enhancement will see the development of important infrastructure over the next twelve months.
 
“I was delighted to have had the opportunity to host a number of civic receptions throughout the year to mark certain milestones for our Town.  The visit of President Mary McAleese for the 100th birthday of former President and Bray native, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh was for me the highlight of the year.  Receptions were also held for Bray Emmets GAA Club on their 125th anniversary, St Thomas’ Community College on their 30th anniversary and sporting receptions for World Champions Pádraig Moran and Katie Taylor and for the visit to Bray of Spanish Football Club Villa Real to play Bray Wanderers” the outgoing Cathaoirleach reminded those present.
 
Bray Wanderers was one of the good news stories of the year with the club dramatically avoiding the drop and now performing so well with a renewed sense of confidence. 
 
Other good stories for the town include the efforts that have been made by the Council and the local community to improve the town’s environment.  These efforts were recognised in the continued good performance in the IBAL League and the encouraging remarks following the town’s re-entry to the national Tidy Towns Competition and on a more novel note, a story that gave the town prominence was the world record breaking success for the most people handcuffed together in one location that was achieved in Bray.
 
Cllr Grant went on to say that he was delighted to have represented the town abroad when he joined local Bray residents in our twin towns in Bègles and Würzburg.  Contact with the Swiss town of Grindelwald was also maintained and the possibility of a new twinning on a new style with the Romanian City of Târgu Mureş was explored and he looked forward to the return visits from these municipalities to Bray in the coming months so we can move forward on projects of mutual benefit.
 
Council management and staff were thanked for their work during the year.  “It would be remiss of me” said Cllr Grant “not to recognise again the trojan work carried out by the Council’s outdoor staff during the heavy snow in November and December 2010 and to compliment them on behalf of the many residents who contacted me to say how well the situation was handled this time round.”
 
The Council’s administration staff were equally deserving of praise for their work in difficult economic times and the recruitment embargo.  The engineering team, the finance division, the housing and planning sections and the Town Clerk’s office were singled out for thanks.
 
“My year as Cathaoirleach has certainly been rewarding and challenging.  It has also highlighted to me some of the limitations of the office.  More a role of chairman and conciliator than commander and chief and I would hope that the new Government in looking at local government reform will strengthen the role of Cathaoirleach in all local authorities and make the office more meaningful, productive and central to the governance of our towns and counties” concluded Cllr Grant.