Size matters - city launches video explaining scale of Cork boundary extension

Cork City Council has published a new "size matters" video today in a bid to explain the scale of the proposed city boundary extension, writes Eoin English.

It comes just days after Cork County Council threatened the local government minister with legal action if he pushes ahead with the controversial extension proposed by the Mackinnon group.

The short animation, which says 'Size matters when it comes to cities', was launched on its various social media platforms this morning ahead of another meeting tomorrow of the group set up by Minister Eoghan Murphy to implement the Mackinnon recommendations on local government reform in the region.

The proposed city boundary extension, to include Cork Airport, Ballincollig, Blarney, Glanmire, and Carrigtwohill, has sparked most controversy.

The city council has engaged in the implementation process, but the county council remains steadfastly opposed to the scale of the extension.

It called on Monday for mediation and gave Minister Murphy until midday next Monday to engage a mediator, or face possible legal action to block the Mackinnon process.

The new video, commissioned by City Hall, says the city measured around 11sq kms in 1840, had grown to 14sq kms by 1955 and to nearly 40sq kms by 1965 - the last time the city boundary was formally extended.

In the last half century, it says the city and urban areas grew beyond the city's formal boundary and that by 2011, the CSO was describing Cork city and suburbs as 164.5 sq kms, even though officially the city was only a quarter that size.

"Clearly our city boundary was completely out of date," it says.

The Mackinnon report, which was commissioned after the controversial Smiddy report was shelved, recommended early this year that the city be extended to 296sq kms.

The video uses animation to show how the existing city boundary area sits alongside on adjoining land in the county which Cork County Council has zoned for development over the next five to 10 years, which is has designated as reserve development land for the next 10 to 30 years, and the expected areas of urban Cork by 2050.

The video then shows how the Mackinnon line broadly encompasses those areas.

"Best practice internationally shows us that this size of development should be overseen by one urban authority - well that's us," the video says.

"This isn't about Cork 2017 - it's about Cork 2050. If we want to attract more international investment, we need to become a city of European city of scale."

It says that concerns about such large-scale change can lead to false information and rumours spreading - and it rejects suggestions that a boundary extension will lead to rates increases, a reduction in services, or hikes in car and house insurances premium.

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