Topsoil pitch proposal gets red card

A Cork city councillor has cried foul over national and EU waste legislation which has blocked his innovative proposal to save a sinking soccer pitch.

Topsoil pitch proposal gets red card

Fianna Fáil councillor Fergal Dennehy’s idea to use topsoil from a nearby social housing project to fix the sunken pitch on the southside of the city was shown the red card at Monday’s city council meeting.

But he insisted last night he is not off-side and that he plans to tackle city officials again on the issue.

“I understand that there is legislation but I am sure that with a bit of imagination, and with some thinking outside the box, a solution can be found,” he said.

The pitch at Clashduv Park has been badly affected by subsidence in recent years, and has developed a pronounced hollow around the centre. The subsidence became so bad that the Cork Schoolboys League, which organises thousands of underage games across the city and county every week, deemed the pitch unsuitable for its fixtures.

Mr Dennehy said it hasn’t been used for formal league games for about two years, hitting the local Pearse Celtic club badly.

“It is a real shame that we have this fantastic asset in the heart of the community that is unusable,” he said.

He asked city officials to explore the possibility of using topsoil, which is due to be removed from a nearby site earmarked for a housing project, to fix the problem.

Work is expected to start within weeks on the construction of over 60 housing units on the site of the former Deanrock flats — a few hundreds yards from the pitch.

Mr Dennehy said the topsoil could provide at least a temporary solution .

However, the director of services in the council’s environment and recreation directorate, David Joyce, ruled it out.

“Playing pitches require specific soil types and sand mixture to ensure a quality playing surface and free flowing drainage,” he said.

“Soil from construction activity would thus not meet the technical requirements for pitch infill. It is also important to note that soil from a construction site is classed as ‘waste’ under both national and European waste legislation.

“As such, like any other type of waste, it can only be accepted at a site where a waste licence or a waste facility permit exists. This also precludes it from being used as pitch infill.”

Mr Joyce said there is no funding at the moment to carry out upgrade works. But he said a sports capital grant application will be made soon to the Department of Tourism and Sport’s capital grants unit.

But Mr Dennehy said pending a decision on the funding application, he will continue to explore with city officials the possibility of using the topsoil as infill.

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