A further two weeks are being set aside for the planning hearings into the controversial South Kerry Greenway - mainly to allow the process to hear from farmers objecting to the route selection and to the Compulsory Purchase mechanism.
The process, which began two weeks ago, has heard how Kerry County Council sees the greenway as necessary for “the common good”, and for the regeneration of agritourism of the west Iveragh area between Glenbeigh and Renard, near Cahersiveen.
But the hearing has also heard claims the council is inflexible and is sticking too rigidly to an old rail line closed by Todd Andrews in 1960. The CPO mechanism of land acquisition by the State land should only be used for major infrastructure and not for amenities, the planning meeting has been told.
The hearing has been told of trauma and upset as well as division in the community.
According to a report, the cost of the 32km paved route, involving bridges and culverts and fencing as well as repairs to iconic Victorian railway bridges and viaducts will be just shy of €21m.
This will include €4m towards land purchase costs and almost €14m in construction costs.
Up to €1m is being spent on the planning stage for environmental and compulsory purchase preparation documents.
There is to be marketing spend of €25,000 a year and the council wants to spend €100,000 on one-off marketing to coincide with the launch of the project.
The greenway for cyclists and pedestrians will take around 54 weeks to build, senior counsel Esmond Keane said, under questioning from Michael O’Donnell barrister for the Greenway Information Group of around 27 landowners.
The oral hearing into both the planning application under the Roads Acts, and the CPO mechanism under the Housing acts is to resume on November 11 for a further two weeks.