By Eoin English
The €6m revamp of an historic Cork city quay which will include the city's first flood defences has been given the go-ahead.
City councillors have voted 22-6 during a city council meeting this evening to approve the Part 8 report on the Morrison's Island regeneration project despite significant opposition about the inclusion of flood defences proposed as part of OPW's controversial Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS) - the largest flood defence project in the history of the state.
The vote followed a 90-minute debate during which several councillors said the city needs to take steps to minimise flood risk.
An attempt to defer the vote pending an independent review of the LLFRS was ruled out of order.
Officials said work will begin now to prepare tender documents for the revamp in the hope that construction will start before the end of the year, and take between eight to 12-months to complete.
Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald welcomed the vote.
"This scheme will deliver a high quality public amenity space for a long neglected area of the city but also the required level of flood protection for the wider city centre,” he said.
“Tonight's vote will be warmly welcomed by traders who have suffered enormously in previous flooding events".
The scheme includes an enhanced south-facing quayside streetscape, with improved pedestrian and cycling facilities, between Parnell Bridge and Parliament Bridge, a viewing platform over the river Lee, three new public plazas, and a mini-boardwalk as well as integrated flood defences.
It will be delivered along Morrison’s and Fr. Mathew Quays between Parliament Bridge and Parnell Bridge and will include a short section of works at Union Quay close to Trinity footbridge.
These quays are the lowest lying in the city centre and are a source of regular tidal flooding.
The relocation of Trinity footbridge was ruled out on cost grounds but it will be redeveloped and remedial and strengthening works will be carried out to the existing quay walls as part of the construction of integrated flood defence work.
Read more on this story in tomorrow's Irish Examiner