Work on flood prevention for at an-risk tourist town in West Cork could commence in mid-2015.
A dam-type water retention area and coastal defences are part of elaborate flood management proposals to alleviate regular devastation in Clonakilty.
The proposals were drawn up after consultants conducted more than 2,000 hours of flood-flow works on a simulated model of the town and its environs.
A public consultation process commenced yesterday and will continue for a further two weeks. Residents and businesses in the town, which has historic flood problems, have been urged to submit feedback on the proposed relief measures.
Minister of State Brian Hayes yesterday, on a visit to West Cork, examined the detailed proposals. “I am very impressed by the initial proposals and although the schemes, aimed at flood prevention, are at an early stage in the design and planning processes, I would envisage preliminary works to begin in 2015,” said Mr Hayes, who has responsibility for the Office of Public Works.
“I visited Clonakilty in June last year when the mopping-up was continuing after a major flood and I gave a commitment to include the town in a South Western Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study. I believe it will provide the solutions to protecting the town, long-term.”
Following consultations between Cork County Council and the OPW, preferred flood-risk management options for the town were accelerated and identified a year earlier than originally planned, said Mr Hayes.
Engineering consultants Mott MacDonald, over the past 12 months, have completed a study that involved examining 160 individual locations at flood risk, along with surveying 270ha of land and 10km of river.
Using a simulated model process, more than 2,000 hours of flood-flow options were analysed.
Mr Hayes acknowledged a flood barrier solution had been proposed a number of years ago for Clonakilty Bay, but other flood defence options were also being examined.
The town, he said, was at risk from both surface water and coastal flooding.
To reduce the risk of surface water flooding, he said, a holding station, or dam, was the likely option. “I know it can be frustrating for locals, living in constant fear of homes or businesses flooding, but we have to get the analysis right, this time,” said Mr Hayes.
Since June 2012, the local authorities have expended €300,000 in enhancing the local infrastructure to remove excess surface water off roads and streets into the drainage system.
Clonakilty town mayor Phil O’Regan said local feedback, from both the public consultation process last night and online for the next two weeks, was essential. “I would advise homeowners and businesses to examine the draft flood maps and the preferred flood management options and make submissions,” she said. “Everyone in the town is a stakeholder in this process and flood prevention is our priority.”
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