BY SIOBHAN CRONIN
A STRATEGIC development plan for the Mizen Peninsula is being launched next week.
The Mizen Community Partnership’s Local Development Plan will be launched by Ian Dempsey, chief executive of West Cork Development Partnership, on Thursday April 16th at 11am at the Mizen Head Visitor Centre.
Members of the local tourist industry, government agencies, local businesses and entrepreneurs, will be asked to attend.
The report was commissioned by the West Cork Development Partnership in 2013, and it highlighted many areas suitable for development, investment and expansion.
A steering committee formed from members of the three Mizen Community Councils – Goleen, Schull and Ballydehob – identified three sectors from the list.
These sectors were seen as significantly important, achievable in the short term and represent the diversity of the community – they are brand, food and heritage.
‘The most important aspect of any project is its branding. With this in mind a sub-committee was established to create a brand,’ according to Julia Zagar, of the steering committee.
‘It was important to the sub-committee to highlight that the brand should represent all aspects of this vibrant and diverse community of farmers, fishermen, entrepreneurs, artisan producers and tourists,’ she added.
Food production was also a key sector which arose, with emphasis on the perfect conditions in Mizen for the development of an extraordinary range of produce, products and services.
‘There are almost 100 enterprises already established on the peninsula,’ she pointed out. ‘The sub-committee will work on liaising with these producers to support their development, raise their profile and encourage their expansion.’
The third area prioritised was rich historical heritage. The history of the peninsula stretches from early Neolithic times through the middle ages to the impact of the Great Famine. ‘A comprehensive list of sites has been drawn up with a view to producing a definitive and informative map and guide. In conjunction with this, existing historical walkways and new paths will be sign-posted, marked and mapped. It is envisioned that cycle trails will be a natural spin-off from this initiative,’ added Ms Zagar. ‘The enthusiastic commitment of the various groups has already borne fruit. Support from many local interest groups has been phenomenal. We look forward to realising the potential of this vibrant, dynamic and positive community.’