500 make opinions known on flood plan

The Office of Public Works has received almost 500 submissions from the public on a €140m flood defence project for Cork.

500 make opinions known on flood plan

A twice-extended deadline for submissions closed last night in the largest scheme of its kind in the history of the State.

“All observations will be considered over the next few weeks with some consultation possibly to take place over observations which have been received and require clarity,” a spokesperson said.

“If a decision is taken to advance the scheme through detailed design, with whatever changes which may arise following the exhibition process, the process will be undertaken over the following six to eight months with a view to submitting the scheme for confirmation, as required under the Arterial Drainage Acts, to the minister for public expenditure and reform towards the end of the year.”

Save Cork City, the campaign group leading the opposition to the OPW’s proposals for the construction of direct defences and raised quay walls, lodged its submission last night and welcomed the level of engagement. With a ramped-up campaign during the week, it posted dozens of photographs on social media of city centre business owners who have also come out against the OPW’s proposals.

Spokesman Seán Antóin Ó Muirí said it was vital the public engage in the process.

“This project will define Cork for generations to come and it is vital that the right course of action is undertaken,” he said.

“Everyone should consider all the issues at stake here. People must be aware of what the full consequences of this proposal will be.”

Earlier this week, Cork Chamber and Cork Business Association, made separate submissions, each backing the OPW’s proposals.

CBA president Pat O’Connell said the plan is the only viable option to protect Cork from devastating repeat flooding. “Their plan has been well considered, studied and adapted to the needs of Cork City. It is based on similar situations in other towns and cities and has been proven to work.”

Chamber chief executive Conor Healy said the OPW has already taken on board their concerns about the design and finish of proposed defences in some areas.

“We will endorse further refinement such as an enhanced finish, the use of more glass panels at certain locations and a narrowing of the construction timeline.”

But Save Cork City insisted that the scheme as proposed will not work, calling instead for alternative solutions including the construction of a tidal barrier in Cork harbour.

Former Green Party TD and senator Dan Boyle also made a submission. He described the OPW’s proposals as “over engineered”, the raising of quay walls as a ‘band aid’ approach, and criticised a decision, on cost grounds, to rule out a tidal barrage.

“What is being suggested is insensitive to the character of Cork City. It ignores the special position of the river in the history and culture of the city. Imprisoning the river is not a solution.”

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