Dear Sir/ Madame,
I write with regard to the proposal for Garryduff Woods/ Old Court Woods, Cork and application CN86326.
I have had many constituents write to me to express their worries for the road proposal for the site. Since the boundary extension last year, Cork City has inherited this very beautiful 26-hectare woodland amenity managed by An Coillte. It is a site I am rediscovering over the past year since it passed into the city. In addition, I have also been vocal many times in Cork City Council that it needs an effective urban forestry management strategy within the city area.
Due to the urban location of the woods I would call upon An Coillte and Cork City Council to work closer together on its recreational uses and the management of challenges, which go with that. Good collaboration is crucial going forward especially with a new Cork City Development Plan being put in place.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 Old Garryduff Woods has seen a big increase in day to day usage by locals for walking and really has stood out as a public local amenity. The people I have met have described it as an oasis in the heart of suburban living. I would deem that An Coillte have done a good management job over the decades but clearly now Garryduff Woods has gone from being a purely rural location to now being in the heart of the urban suburb of Rochestown where over 5,000 people live.
Many locals have expressed the view to me that the woods are very small and the amount of timber that can be harvested is low, especially versus the amount of destruction which will be carried out by another felling. Locals have expressed their worry to me that some trees were never replanted some years back leaving a large gap with very little protection for remaining trees. So, every time there is a new storm, the woodland loses more trees again.
The Red Squirrel, which I have seen myself on my walks in the woods, are becoming more and more rare in Ireland and the destruction of their habitat would also be lessened by further tree felling.
I do realise that Garryduff Woods is a working forest but with more and more houses being constructed in Upper Rochestown and Maryborough, I am calling on An Coillte to consider the plans they rolled out in Dublin recently and to apply some of these traits to Garryduff Woods.
I have received much correspondence from locals calling for an end to commercial operations in the woods and calling for the further protection of its bio-diverse and climate resilient woodland.
There is an opportune time now for a strategic collaborative plan between An Coillte and Cork City Council addressing the needs of local residents but also the needs of the biodiversity in this district of Cork City.