A push is on to promote community amenities and recreational space in towns and villages in Cork to thereby attract new businesses into county areas.
Much-needed amenity and recreational infrastructure would also boost residential property values.
Cork County Council chiefs may create a team of officials to examine the provision of improved resources in each of the county’s eight municipal districts.
Acting chief executive, Declan Daly, offered to consider Cllr Marcia D’Alton’s suggestion.
An environmental engineer, Ms D’Alton secured unanimous support for her motion from councillor colleagues, when she called for the reorganisation of the directorate structures of the local authority.
She wanted a section dedicated to the development of a ‘recreation and amenity strategy.’
She said such work, under a new strategy, would also include a proposed network of cycling infrastructure throughout the county.
“Recreation and amenity infrastructure of all kinds is vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in a community and a region,” she said.
“Parks-and-recreation programmes and services contribute, in a significant way, to the physical and mental health of people of all ages,” Cllr D’Alton stated.
She said such amenities and infrastructure were essential for social engagement, for enhancing community spirit, and for fostering environmental responsibility.
“They are also very important for the economy. Parks, trails and recreation facilities increase property values and tax revenue,” she said.
“Quality parks and recreation are one of the top three reasons that businesses cite in relocation decisions.
“Provision of recreation and amenity facilities is one of local authorities’ core functions. And we, as a council, have developed some excellent sites and facilities,” she said.
Cllr D’Alton said:”But there is still a deficit.
“Some of our staff have real expertise in the development of recreational facilities, and if that expertise were collated in a dedicated section, it would have the drive to co-ordinate and promote cohesive and structured integration of recreation.”
Cllr D’Alton said that Dublin City Council has a dedicated Cultural and Amenities Section.
Cork City Council has a Recreation and Amenities Section, while Waterford City and County Council has a Community and Sport Department Unit.
“All I’m asking is that, within the Municipal District Directorate, the county council would incorporate a small, but distinct, section with a specific focus on the co-ordination of development of recreation and amenity facilities throughout the county.
“Their expertise will feed down through the municipal district structure to the area offices, who are doing the work on the ground.
“We need that kind of structure, if we are to optimise limited opportunities for funding, think in an innovative way, and advance positively even the plans and strategies we already have in place,” Cllr D’Alton said.
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