Irish Water has again postponed putting out to tender a multi-million euro sewerage scheme in Bandon, Co Cork, — much to the concern of local county councillors.
The utility company has informed the county council that it now hopes to put the project out to tender in the first quarter of next year.
Initially, Irish Water said it would go to tender last spring, but later pushed the date out to the end of this year.
Now it has postponed it again, to the first quarter of 2017, meaning that planned upgrades of the town’s badly deteriorating road surfaces will be put back even longer because they can’t be done until after the new sewerage pipes are laid.
Councillors expressed shock and anger when told the news.
Fine Gael councillor Kevin Murphy, chairman of the Bandon/Kinsale municipal council district, said councillors must lobby Irish Water to move faster on the project.
“Everything else will now go on hold again because of this, there are so many public works on hold because of it, such as doing up the streetscapes,” Fianna Fáil councillor Gillian Coughlan said. “I want Irish Water to expedite this scheme as soon as possible. We’re already waiting five or six years for it,” she added.
Sinn Féin councillor Alan Coleman said Irish Water had “put in writing twice before” its intention to put the scheme out to tender this year. “I’d like to know what’s going on. Have they got the money for this scheme? I’m now very concerned about this.”
Mr Murphy said Irish Water regularly holds information clinics for councillors at County Hall and it is now vital all local councillors lobby the utility company’s officials to have the tender process speeded up.
Council officials agreed that this is the best way to get the scheme back on track. The town was seriously flooded in 2009 and experienced more problems last winter.
Meanwhile, on a more positive note, councillors say they are delighted with some flood relief works being carried out. The OPW had previously said it had no intention of dredging the river ahead of the winter, believing it was a purely cosmetic exercise which wouldn’t prevent flooding.
However, in recent years, the council has dredged the river of silt and gravel and decided to carry out the work itself again this year, despite the OPW’s views.
Council crews are currently removing thousands of tonnes of gravel and silt build-up from the river and will continue to do so until the end of September.
Fine Gael councillor James O’Donovan commended staff for what’s being done and said it is great to see the main contractor for flood relief works, Wills Brothers, on site.
The county council has, meanwhile, put up some earth embankments around the town as a temporary flood relief measure and also installed a number of non-return valves.
Officials said they would invite the contractor to come and address local councillors about the proposed timetable for works at their next municipal meeting in October.
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