Business minister Edwina Hart supports the completion the Eastern Bay Link Road and creation of a new railway station in east Cardiff, the council’s economy boss has told business leaders.
Councillor Russell Goodway said Mrs Hart had indicated her support for two crucial transport schemes that will “completely change the dynamic” of the capital in favour of Cardiff Bay.
He also revealed the council’s ambition for a new attraction at the barrage to boost footfall in the Bay.
Ideas include an aquarium or an equivalent to Nantes’ Les Machines de l’île.
Council officials are in talks with counterparts at their twinned French city about how to create a Welsh dragon version of Nantes’ 12 meter high mechanical Elephant attraction.
The former Labour council leader provided the Cardiff Breakfast Club an update on his vision for the next phase of the city’s development, saying private sector investment would be crucial.
Mr Goodway, however, did not reveal any further details about the council’s plans for the area around Cardiff Central railway station.
He last year scrapped the previous administration’s proposals for redeveloping land north of the station and it was later announced that no replacement bus station would be built before 2017.
A new vision for Cardiff Central has been created by architecture firm Hassell, but Mr Goodway said it could not yet be put into the public domain as talks were continuing with Network Rail.
“Prepare to be amazed in the autumn,” Mr Goodway told his audience at St David’s Hotel.
Mr Goodway, whose Labour group returned to power last year after eight years in opposition, said over the past 10 years Cardiff “has taken its eye off the ball” and its performance had been “allowed to dip”.
“A recent analysis of performance in foreign direct investment commissioned by the council placed Cardiff 27th in the UK, below such economic heavyweights as Telford, Warrington and Hull.
“For the capital city, this is simply not good enough. We need to do better. That is why, 20 years on from 1993, it falls on this county council, to start the process all over again.
“Cardiff needs to deliver a step-change in economic performance; it needs to lead Wales out of the economic downturn.”
Mr Goodway said he wants to foster a “culture of enterprise which celebrates business success”. “Not a culture of envy which is all too often obsessed with what people earn rather than the prosperity they generate for the common good.”
He said he and council leader Heather Joyce were “totally committed” to the city region agenda, with five or six key infrastructure projects being identified with Welsh Government.
These include the Eastern Bay Link Road, kick-started by the UK’s support for a new M4 Relief Road through Newport, a railway station at St Mellons and a tram-train linking the city centre with the Bay.
“If Mrs Hart does announce those projects amongst a handful of transformational projects across the city region then it will make a vast difference to Newport and Cardiff and the entire region and completely change the dynamic of the city once more in favour the Cardiff Bay,” he said.
He later said he was “not sure” the Business Minister had actually committed any money. The Welsh Government has been asked to comment.
Long seen as the missing link in Cardiff’s road network, the 3.4-mile stretch would connect the Ely link road to the Lamby Way/Rover Way roundabout and run along the coastline, cutting congestion in areas like Newport Road.
Mr Goodway repeated his desire for a convention centre and indoor arena.
“With the Eastern Bay Link now a real prospect, the magnet of the Bay seems to pull this development firmly to the south,” he said of the convention centre.
“And let me say this, whatever the rumours about competition from locations outside Cardiff, let me make it clear – the leader of the county council is determined that Cardiff will have its convention centre.”
A data centre which can provide storage capacity to major industries is another priority, while expressions of interest will be invited from developers to build an “urban village” on land along Dumballs Road.
“In order to improve the economic performance of the capital city and the nation in these difficult times we need to all be working together towards the same goals – the Welsh Government and Cardiff council; the city and the city region; the public and the private sectors; the corporates, the start-ups and the SME’s,” he said.
“Together, we need clarity of vision and an agreed strategy for economic growth and job creation. Rebuilding momentum in the Cardiff economy will be difficult, but not impossible. Remember, we’ve been here before, some 40 years ago, some 20 years ago. We have done it twice before. We need to do it again.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are investigating options to improve transport infrastructure across South Wales. Regarding public transport, the Transport Minister has commissioned an independent report on a South Wales Metro system that is due in the autumn and will include consideration of new stations and routes for the region.”