Developing a food alleviation plan for Cork

February 7, 2014

This week’s flooding in Cork again devastated many businesses and homes in the centre of our city.  Regrettably the reaction to the 2009 floods in Cork did not prioritise a long term plan to protect our city.  While criticism of the length of time it is taking to implement a flood defence scheme is legitimate it is important to understand that the flood situation in Cork is not straightforward.  Progressing a scheme for the city involves complex and detailed preparations to ensure that the best possible long term solution is found.  However, having spoken to Minister Brian Hayes this week, I am glad that, finally, progress is being made.

On Thursday February 6 Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Brian Hayes visited the city meeting with the Lord Mayor, Councillors, City Manager and representatives of local businesses.  The Minister said that up to €100 million will be made available to carry out flood protection work for Cork.  He also stated that a possible starting date for the three-year project will be in 2015.  In the interim a forum between the OPW, City Council and local businesses is being set up to explore interim measures that can help alleviate the problem.

Last April the OPW appointed Arup Engineers to develop proposals based on the 2006 Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Study for the River Lee Catchment.  The main objectives of this work include:-

  1. A flood forecasting system to facilitate optimum decision-making on dam discharges.
  2. A viable, cost-effective and sustainable Scheme, to permit provide protection along the Lower Lee and through Cork City against residual fluvial flooding and flooding from high tides and surge levels.

On July 17, 2013 Arup held a Public Information Day to outline the study and the process involved in developing the plan. Next it is intended to bring the emerging preferred scheme before the public; 29th July 2014 has been set as the date for this Public Information Day.  Following this the scheme will be further refined, an Environmental Impact Assessment will be completed and a formal Public Exhibition will commence towards the end of the year.

It is expected that this scheme will be the largest flood relief scheme ever undertaken by the OPW, costing between €50 and €100 million.  Given the substantial investment required work must only commence we are absolutely sure that we have the right solution for the City.

Apart from the proposed scheme for the central city area, studies are also being advanced for, Douglas/Togher. A Flood Relief Scheme for Douglas and Togher is currently being advanced by Cork County Council with funding to be provided by Office of Public Works (OPW).  It is understood that Cork County Council has signed a contract for consultants in the last two weeks to take the development of a Flood Relief Scheme for Douglas and Togher.  It is hoped that proposals to deal with the problems in these areas will be brought forward for public consultation before the end of 2014.  The OPW has made provision for the costs of these schemes in its multi-annual budgets; however the funding will be subject to review depending on actual budget allocations.

Posted under Blog, Cork City, Douglas, Environment, Finance, Infastructure, South Central, South East, South West

Development Council can be basis for future growth at Cork Airport

Monday, January 6th 2014

  • Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Dr Leo Varadkar, TD, confirms that a Development Council for Cork Airport will be established.

I am pleased that Minister Varadkar confirmed to me that a Development Council for Cork Airport will be established.  This will provide the forum for all key stakeholders who have an interest in the development of Cork Airport to engage with management and contribute to the further growth of the airport.

Cork Airport serves the entire region of Ireland South, making it a convenient airport of choice for a population of almost 1 million.  It is also on the door step of many large international businesses and at the centre of Cork’s growing international reputation as a key IT hub.  These clear competitive advantages reinforce the potential of Cork Airport and its importance to our local, regional and national economies.

If the airport is to reach its full potential there must be clear lines of communication between management at the airport and key stakeholders.  There is a clear mutual interest in the growth of Cork Airport and there are many people and groups who will share in the benefits of future growth.  If this potential is to be harnessed then there must be a formalised process of engagement, which is why I raised this issue with the Minister.

The recent announcement of the expansion of Aer Lingus Regional services at Cork Airport highlights the progress that is being made.  I want to again to commend the team at Cork Airport for delivering this further growth at the airport.  This reaffirms the status of Cork Airport as Ireland’s second airport and a key transport link for the entire Munster region.

Clearly, this demonstrates the potential for growth that is possible at Cork Airport.  The establishment of a Development Council will provide the basis for further growth. This will ensure that there is a common understanding, particularly at local level, of issues of concern, potential opportunities for growth, and the operating performance of the airport.

Posted under Cork, Cork City, Infastructure, Tourism, Transport

€2.9m Govt investment in Cork will ensure delivery of robust water infrastructure – Buttimer

Tuesday, 26th November 2013

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, TD, has approved the design proposals for the Cork City Water Supply Scheme – Network Contract (Wilton – Lee Road Trunk Main).
The Minister’s approval of Cork City Council’s design proposals for the Wilton – Lee Road Trunk Main element of the Cork City Water Supply Scheme – Network Contract is a very significant decision.  This decision will ensure that Cork has a robust water infrastructure that can cope with disruptions to supply from the Lee Road water treatment plant.

I very much welcome this important investment in Cork’s water infrastructure.  It is estimated that the project will cost just over €2.9 million and will deliver a new trunk main connection between the Lee Road Water Treatment Plant and an existing 600mm diameter pipeline from the Cork Harbour & City Water Supply Scheme, at the Wilton Road Roundabout.  This will allow water from the Cork Harbour & City water scheme to be used to supply Cork City in the event of future disruptions to the supply from the Lee Road WTP.

When vast areas of Cork City were left without water following severe flooding, which damaged the Lee Road WTP, it exposed the inadequacies of our water infrastructure.  There had been no significant investment in our water infrastructure and our water supply system had no way of coping. There was no way of supplying mains water to thousands of people living in Cork. This project will help to overcome that problem; it will ensure that water can be diverted to homes and businesses in the event of any future problems with the Lee Road plant.

This allocation of funding advances the commitment in the Programme for Government to invest in our water infrastructure, to ensure that there is an adequate supply as well as meeting the highest international standards.  Locally, this is an extremely important scheme and it is important that Cork City Council now proceeds to tendering and delivery phases as soon as possible.

Posted under Cork, Cork City, Environment, Infastructure, South West