Plans for €6m Morrison’s Island flood defence go on display

Plans for flood defences to protect one of Cork City’s most flood-prone areas as part of a major public realm upgrade have gone on public display.

Gerry Murphy, Rutland St, checking out he replica of the proposed flood defences. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The €6m Morrison’s Island project, which aims to blend the first flood defences to be delivered as part of the OPW’s €140m Lower Lee flood relief scheme into an enhanced south-facing quayside streetscape between Parnell Bridge and Parliament Bridge, will include a viewing platform over the river Lee, three new public plazas, and a mini-boardwalk.

Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said the proposals will revamp the area.

“The proposals for Morrison’s Island represent an unmissable opportunity to bring about comprehensive regeneration of this historic area and to re-orientate this part of the city towards the river,” he said.

However, the Mad About Cork urban renewal group described the proposals as a missed opportunity for Cork.

“With its natural design along the river, it should be a destination spot. It could be a narrow tree lined park that stretches all the way down to the new event centre,” said spokesman Alan Hurley.

“What we’re being given is basically a nice new footpath. The design lacks imagination and it’s mainly concrete.

Left, the Morrison’s Island area as it currently is, and right, how it is expected to look once the €6m project is completed. As well as flood defences, the works will include a viewing platform over the river Lee, three new public plazas, and a mini-boardwalk.

“If Cork wants to stand out from Dublin and similar sized European cities then we need to stop accepting mediocrity like this.”

A flood defence parapet, no higher than 600mm, topped with a railing, will be installed over strengthened quay walls along Fr Mathew Quay and Morrison’s Quay.

The ground level will be raised to minimise the visual impact of the flood defences, which have been designed to protect against between 70- 80% of the tidal flooding which affects the city centre island area.

Trinity footbridge will be enhanced, with a public plaza where it meets Morrison’s Island and a mini-boardwalk on its Union Quay side, and new plazas will be built at Parnell Bridge and outside Holy Trinity Church.

A viewing platform will be built into the new plaza area near Parnell Bridge.

Footpaths up to 3m wide will be built along Fr Mathew and Morrison’s quays, traffic flow will be reorganised, parking will be reconfigured, bike parking retained, and features to acknowledge the quays’ history and heritage are also planned.

An exhibition of photomontages, a computer-generated walkthrough and a life-sized replica of a section of improved quay wall will be on display in City Hall for the next six weeks as part of an eight-week period of public consultation.

David Joyce, the council’s director of services in the environment and recreation directorate, urged people to view the exhibition, offer their feedback and take ownership of the project.

“We are open to suggestions on the design of the scheme, even at this late stage, if there aren’t any significant cost implications,” he said People can make submission online at Landscapes architects involved in the scheme will be available to answer questions in Millenium Hall from 3pm to 7pm on February 26 and March 9.

It is hoped that work will start by autumn, take a year to complete, and be in place to provide flood protection by winter 2019.

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