Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called for more consistent and meaningful communication between the NTA and Residents Groups. Proposals for 12 Sustainable Transport Corridors including Maryborough Hill to Douglas Road for BusConnects Cork were published in June 2022 as part of the first round of public consultation. The consultation closed in early October last year.
Following the first round of public consultation, the NTA has been reviewing the almost 3,000 submissions made by the public. The BusConnects Cork team has also met with 33 residents’ and business groups across the city since summer 2022 with meetings ongoing. The engagement process has resulted in a number of revisions and alternatives to the initial proposals and these will inform part of the next round of public consultation for people’s feedback.
However Cllr Kieran McCarthy has noted that some of the feedback has been haphazard; “I am hearing that some residents groups in the Douglas area have had multiple meetings and others have had none. The communication process must be consistent. We will entering phase 2 of the public consultation process in early April and it important that compromises and alternatives, where relevant are actually discussed and explored – otherwise the consultation element is just a tick the box action”.
“I remain deeply worried for the built and natural heritage of several areas of the NTA plans. The decision to omit the bridge proposal over the Mangala is welcome but the thought of kilometres of trees and garden space being ripped out along route ways such as Douglas Road, Boreenmanna Road and Well Road is very worryingly indeed. Hence why meaningful dialogue is very important between stakeholders”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.
To ask the CE about the mechanisms in place to combat homelessness this winter in the city?
How many homelessness cases on the streets in the last weekend of January 2023?
Are their beds available for all homelessness at this point in time in the city (early February 2023)?
How many emergency accommodation units?
To ask for the breakdown of finance given to housing homeless agencies in the city in 2022 and proposed expenditure to agencies in 2023? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
That a root and branch assessment be made on the pedestrian safety around the new Douglas-Rochestown Educate Together School on the old Carrigaline Road and appropriate safety measures be acted upon (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
That the name John Swiney, one of the core leaders in Cork of the United Irishmen in 1798, be inscribed on the 1798 panel on the National Monument on the Grand Parade (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
To get a report on the status of the playground space at the Old Cork Waterworks Experience being returned to Cork City Council from Irish Water (Cllr Kieran McCarthy). To add Lisnalee Drive, Ballintemple, to the re-surfacing estates list of the south east local electoral area (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
Detailed design of a public walkway by Cork City Council is ongoing at the back of Berkely estate opp Maryborough Woods following the Ballybrack Stream i.e. away from the main road to the back entrance of the school is planned to be opened in September 2023.
The CPO process of land has slowed the process down. Tenders are going out in March 2023. Construction is due during the summer.
No widening works are envisaged for the main road as the priority pedestrian path for the school will be along the stream valley.
I was asked today to ask the local roads engineer to clear the vegetation from the main road’s footpath and erect more slow down signage on the main road.
I have positive feedback on the local engineer today (see below):
“I have visited the school today yesterday and met with the principal there last week.
As with any new school there is naturally initial nerves/concerns.
I will be able to get my crews out to do a clean up on the original foothpaths to the school that may help.
I have spoken to the traffic department, and they are looking into the matter….e.g., signs, road markings, speed limits etc
I do note that there are currently SLOW markings on the road, and a new traffic light junction which is in itself a traffic calming measure.
I would always say in situations like this that speed and driver behaviour is an issue for the Gardai, however we will help in any way we can
That’s my thoughts on the matter, I should have the foothpath cleared very soon”.
The next and exciting final phase of Cork’s new Marina Park is on course to begin this summer with advance works to take place over the coming weeks, Cork City Council has confirmed.
With the next phase of the 70 acre Marina Park on course to begin this summer, advance works are taking place over the coming weeks.
A long-term ambition of Cork City Council, the completed park will be six times larger than Fitzgerald’s Park and equivalent in size to Dublin Zoo. Phase 1 of the park (14 acres) was officially opened in June 2022.
Just 2.5 kilometres from the city centre, Marina Park is a key economic driver and catalyst for Cork Docklands. This next and final phase of Marina Park will extend from The Atlantic Pond to Church Avenue and will accommodate picnic areas, adventure play areas, new paths, a preserved marshland zone and the restoration of several architectural heritage sites. It will deliver high-quality public space and landscaping while protecting and enhancing the natural heritage and biodiversity of the area.
To facilitate the development of woodland trails and paths, some trees and scrub must be removed in the coming weeks. Ten trees will be removed to facilitate construction of the approved park design and a further 16 trees will be removed as they are diseased or dead and hence pose a safety concern. Extensive new tree planting (70+ trees) forms part of the next stage of the park, based on expert biodiversity and landscape advice, with a focus on biodiverse native planting.
The Marina Park works will include:
The upgrading and creation of accessible, formal and informal paths and trails throughout the park.
The restoration and preservation of heritage structures within the park and the creation of a heritage trail to highlight the unique history of the marina
Improvements works to the Atlantic Pond area including the removal of the existing concrete edging and replacement with a selection of hard and soft landscapes, improved seating provision and replacement of the existing concrete bridge.
The provision of a nature playground as well as various play areas throughout the park
The ecological management of the meadows, woodlands and marsh areas to promote and increase the biodiversity of the area embracing and enhancing the existing natural assets of the site including the Atlantic Pond, the Marsh, mature woodland, and open meadow areas
Provision of sensitive public lighting and feature lighting
Other associated works including park furniture, points of interest, wayfinding etc.
Cllr Kieran McCarthy is calling on any community groups based in the south east ward of Cork City, which includes areas such as Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Blackrock, Mahon, Douglas, Donnybrook, Maryborough, Rochestown, Mount Oval and Moneygourney with an interest in sharing in his 2023 ward funding to apply for his funds.
A total of E.12,000 is available to community groups through Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s ward funds. In general, contributions to groups range between e.150 to e.250 or slightly more depending on the project.
Application should be made via email to Kieran at email@example.com or via letter (Richmond Villa, Douglas Road) by Friday 3 February 2023.
This email should give the name of the organisation, contact name, contact address, contact email, contact telephone number, details of the organisation, and what will the ward grant will be used for?
Ward funds will be prioritised to community groups based in the south east ward or the south east local electoral area of Cork City who build community capacity, educate, build civic awareness and projects, which connect the young and old.
Cllr McCarthy especially welcomes proposals where the funding will be used to run a community event, digital included, and that benefit the wider community.
Cllr McCarthy is seeking to fund projects that give people new skill sets. That could include anything from part funding of coaching training for sports projects to groups interested in bringing forward enterprise programmes to encourage entrepreneurship to the ward.
Cllr McCarthy is particularly interested in funding community projects such as community environment projects such as tree planting and projects that that promote the rich history and environment within the south east of Cork City.
Cllr McCarthy publishes a list of his ward fund allocations each year on this page.
Reminder: Clover Hill Court housing proposal is located at Bessboro Road, Mahon and behind Clover Lawn estate.
The development consists of the construction of a residential development of 90 no. dwellings, comprising of 84 no. apartments, which graduate in height from west to east, and 6 no. houses. The development site area is approximately 1.017 hectares and is in the ownership of Cork City Council.
The proposed development will comprise of:
• Construction of a total of 90 residential units, comprising:
o 2 no. apartment buildings (1 no. 3-4 storey building and 1 no. 4-5 storey building), linked at ground floor, containing 84 no. apartments in total, with 28 no. 1-bed apartments and 56 no. 2-bed apartments, each with private balcony/wintergarden/terrace, as well as ground floor bin & bicycle stores and plant (including 1 no. relocated substation and 1 no. additional substation)
o 6 no. 2-storey 3-bed terraced houses, each with private garden
• Provision of 49 no. car parking spaces and 188 no. bicycle parking spaces (94 no. bicycle parking spaces in apartment buildings, 52 no. bicycle parking spaces in freestanding external shelters and 42 no. bicycle parking spaces in open external racks).
• All associated site development works, services provision, road infrastructure, landscaping/public realm works, to include the removal of the existing floor slab of the former commercial building and the relocation of the existing substation
Approximately 40% of the public lighting network of 25,000 lanterns including those in the Douglas area have now been fitted with LED lanterns according to Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy.
In 2022 alone Cork City Council has upgraded 2,500 lanterns (approx. 10%) from old “SON/SOX” lanterns to LED. In addition, a dimming profile, where lanterns are dimmed to 75% output from midnight onwards, in also in operation on some street lights.
A combination of the above interventions has resulted in a reduction of the energy used powering public lighting in the City. In relation to Energy Reduction, Cork City Council have identified the need to change public lighting lanterns to LEDs to help reduce the energy consumption related to the provision of this service.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “As part of the Council’s tendered public lighting annual maintenance contract works, a small percentage of lights are converted to LED annually. The Public Lighting Department of the Operations Directorate is preparing further proposals in terms of a Public Lighting Strategy to tackle legacy electrical issues, old public lighting column issues and the replacement of the remaining old SON/SOX lanterns and converting them to LED. The delivery of this strategy will be subject to securing the required funding for this replacement project”.
To ask the CE on an update on the current management arrangements for public lighting in the city, and in particular what climate action measure are being taken and what contractors are being engaged with? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
The Public Lighting Framework adopted 2021 by the City Council identifies three strategic pillars with regards to the provision of public lighting: • Asset management • Service provision • Energy reduction. In relation to Energy Reduction, Cork City Council have identified the need to change public lighting lanterns to LEDs to help reduce the energy consumption related to the provision of this service. As part of our tendered public lighting annual maintenance contract works a small percentage of lights are converted to LED annually. Additional funding, to accelerate the changeover of 1,000 additional old SON/SOX lanterns to LED, was put in place mid-2022 and this accelerated programme will be implemented over a 12-month period.
As a result of this incremental approach, at the end of October 2022, approximately 40% of the public lighting network has been fitted with LED lanterns. In 2022 alone Cork City Council has upgraded 2,500 lanterns (approx. 10%) from old SON/SOX lanterns to LED. In addition, a dimming profile, where lanterns are dimmed to 75% output from midnight onwards, in also in operation on some street lights. A combination of the above interventions has resulted in a reduction of the energy used powering public lighting in the City, dropping from 95.87watts to 84.59 watts in 2022 alone.
The Public Lighting Department of the Operations Directorate is preparing further proposals in terms of a Public Lighting Strategy to tackle legacy electrical issues, old public lighting column issues and the replacement of the remaining old SON/SOX lanterns and converting them to LED. The delivery of this strategy will be subject to securing the required funding for this replacement project.
David Joyce, Director of Services, Roads & Environment Operations Directorate
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed Cork City Council’s proposed junction safety works on Carrigaline Road between lower Maryborough Woods and Berkley estate, and calls on local people with issues or concerns to engage with the consultation process.
Cork City Council proposes to provide a shared cycle track on the western side of the distributor road within Berkeley to the junction with Carrigaline Road and through to the distributor road within Maryborough Woods. This shared space will provide a safe route for cyclists from Ballybrack Walkway Phase 3 and the proposed Ballybrack Walkway Phase 4 through Berkeley to the Carrigaline Road and into Maryborough Woods.
The main elements of the proposed works are; Provision of a 3m shared cycle facility connecting Ballybrack Phase 3 in Berkeley to Maryborough Woods. The length of this shared facility is approximately 160m; Footpaths in Berkeley and Carrigaline Road adjacent the scheme will be upgraded to 2m; There are new proposed zebra crossings to facilitate a safe crossing point for both pedestrians and cyclists while also slowing vehicles for added safety; Modification to kerbs and road widths to accommodate proposed cycling infrastructure; And new road marking and signage.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “There is quite a number of small footpath widths in this area – so making the immediate area pedestrian friendly and creating pedestrian crossings are welcome. On any given day, the traffic moves at speed through the area. With the opening of the new school shortly nearby, there will be much more pedestrians on local footpaths. It is also not envisaged to take any treeline. It is important though that local residents are aware of the proposals”.
Any observations in relation to this proposal should be made electronically through https://consult.corkcity.ie or forwarded in an envelope marked “Active Travel Improvement Works Maryborough Woods to Berkeley, Douglas” to Senior Engineer, Infrastructure Development, City Hall, Anglesea Street, Cork. Final date for submissions is 5pm on Monday, 28 November 2022.
As a public representative for the south east of Cork City and having two and a quarter bus corridors in my area, it’s difficult to know where to start with my representation.
At the outset I do acknowledge the need for improving the city’s public transport. Indeed, I was one of the core political members, who connected the European Commission to Cork City with regard to the Horizon Europe mission of being 100 Climate Neutral Cities by 2030. So, I am acutely aware of the steep uphill journey the city has to travel to be climate neutral and to work closely between the public and all the stakeholders involved to make sure a strong partnership is maintained.
To be honest at this moment in time I see a very fragmented partnership between the general public and the stakeholders involved in Cork Bus Connects. That partnership and dialogue seriously needs to improve if this epic project is going to get across the line.
To begin with in early July the scatter gun communication to the public via unsigned two-page documents, circulated in a hit and miss way to directly affected houses especially those whose gardens may be part of a CPO process, led to much mistrust and much frustration of the consultation process. Mistrust and frustration has led to further mistrust and frustration. So yes, there is a sense of “you are taking my land” in many cases but moreover there is a case of “you are not reaching out enough to me”.
Coupled with that I have found that the multitude of people who have contacted me unable to read the series of produced maps and unable to digest the many devils in the detail of the different corridors. In effect, I have spent three months in a continuous loop trying to get information to local people via flyering, knocking on doors and hosting a multitude of public meetings – many on the side of affected roads.
Having a public consultation in mid-July led to many local people just becoming aware of the proposals when they came back from holidays in early September. The obligatory ads on bus stops and in newspaper gave nothing of the depth of the detail in the proposals. The info meetings in Nemo Rangers and the subsequent for the bus corridors in my area led to further feedback around the lines of the NTA “don’t know what they are doing”. The engineers who were present were not briefed enough on how to temper the public frustration. So, I remain adamant in my call for the communication team to resign or be completely overhauled.
I have received some positive feedback from the zoom meetings, but the overall feedback I am getting is that because of the scale of the proposals, the NTA should have offices in the heart of affected communities, so people can meet people face to face as these dramatic proposals are being negotiated over the next two years. It is not good enough that the process is being conducted from board rooms of sorts in Dublin. If the NTA are really serious about Bus Connects Cork in Ireland’s second city, the need for a publicly accessible office is crucial.
The various compulsory purchase order proposals are of serious concern to all my constituents and the amount of these proposals is a high price to pay for the implementation of Cork Bus Connects. Having a good garden is a core historical part of suburban design in Cork through the past few decades. Coupled with that the stone encircling walls are unique as well the trees and hedgerows. The overall proposal to remove over 1,000 trees between Ballinlough, Douglas and Grange is high handed environmental vandalism at its worst and I what I deem a very serious attack on Cork’s historic suburban sense of place and quality of life. I acknowledge that there would be replacement but would take several years for said replacement trees to catch on and ecosystems to catch on.
Indeed, even the thought of 1,000 trees literally being culled has emotionally upset many people by the vision of an almost urban ruinous tree landscape. In an age where trees, biodiversity and wildlife are core aspects of National, regional and local climate action plans, the proposal pitch, for example, to build a bridge across Ballybrack Woods or the Mangala is very disappointing. That this is deemed a proposal has painted a picture to many of my constituent of lack of caring of the importance of ecology and biodiversity to a suburb such as Douglas or to Cork City. The same sentiment could be applied to the proposals to wipe out biodiversity along Douglas Road, Boreenmanna Road and Well Road.
There is a very clear worry on the removal of on-street car parking, which needs a lot more public consultation.
There are many devils in the detail of Cork Bus Connects. I sincerely ask a way improved partnership with the general public. I ask that a detailed response be given to each maker of a submission, and a complete over haul of the communication process. The current mistrust and frustration, even anger needs to be negotiated with empathy and fairness for all involved.