A huge new public park in Cork City, to rival Dublin’s Phoenix Park, is finally set to open next year.
City Hall has confirmed that it hopes to open Tramore Valley Park, built on the site of the city’s former Kinsale Road landfill, seven days a week before next summer.
It follows a decision by councillors at Thursday’s 2018 budget meeting to set aside €50,000 to cover full-time park supervision costs.
“This will be an incredibly valuable asset to the city and it will become a critical piece of city’s park network,” said the council’s head of environment, David Joyce.
The Kinsale Road landfill opened in 1965. It was the city’s main dump for decades. It is estimated that up to 3m tonnes of rubbish were dumped on the site before it ceased operating as a landfill in 2009.
Recycling, composting, timer recovery, and waste electrical and electronic equipment works continue at its civic amenity site.
Since its closure, the 180-acre site has undergone a €40m decontamination and remediation process.
The landfill was capped and the vast site was landscaped before internal roads and walkways were built, new sports pitches laid, dressing rooms built, a BMX track developed and a large multi-use event space created which can host circuses or outdoor concerts.
As part of the works, a protective liner to reduce rainfall infiltration into the ground was installed and covered by layers of imported soil.
A leachate collection system was installed and a network of pipes was laid to collect the methane gas generated as waste degrades.
A giant vacuum machine sucks the gas to an electricity generator, which produces up to 3m units of energy every year.
The electricity is being sold to private energy company which is feeding the power into the national grid — enough electricity to power some 500 homes.
The park partially opened some years ago and has hosted several fundraising events, including car rallies and walks, and hosts sports games and BMX events, mostly at weekends.
However, there was never enough funding available to open the entire park fully.
Several one-off large-scale events, including Park Run events, had to be cancelled amid health and safety concerns linked to access issues.
Mr Joyce said the funding sanctioned in the budget will finally allow for the park to open fully, in line with the current opening and closing times for the city’s other public parks.
He said the 150 on-site parking spaces should be adequate to cope with general day-to-day demand.
However, the special large-scale events will have to prepare event-specific traffic management plans, which could include the operation of shuttle buses to ferry large volumes of people from nearby parking facilities to the park itself.
Officials are examining how the 920-parking space Black Ash park and ride site could be used during such events. A number of other access issues and options are also being explored, Mr Joyce said.
Councillors welcomed the sanctioning of funding to facilitate the full-time opening of the park.
They also paid special tribute to former city council engineer, Michael O’Brien, who until his retirement last year, had spent years overseeing the transformation of the former landfill into a massive new public park.
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