Campaigners in Cork are urging a rethink of a proposed roads revamp in the city docklands which, they say, is the start of the city’s flood defence works.
Cork City Council has rejected claims that the Docklands to City Centre Road Network Scheme is connected to the flood defence works.
The scheme is currently open to public consultation. Opponents say that it represents the first step in developing the OPW’s Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS).
In response to the criticism, Cork City Council said the scheme is concerned with the development of public transport infrastructure and public amenities, including an open quayside.
It said the area will avoid future flooding through the re-grading of the existing wharf height to 3.4 metres and not through the construction of walls and that the works are essential for the future connection of the docklands to the city centre.
A spokesperson for the council said that “any contention that the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme is being introduced under the guise of a public realm and sustainable transport project in Cork docklands is wholly inaccurate” and added that the docklands plans predate the flood defence proposals.
“[It] is key to unlocking the Cork docklands which has the potential to be the largest city regeneration programme in Europe and provide up to 15,000 homes and up to 29,000 jobs.”
PCurrent proposals for Albert Quay include “a pontoon with floating garden on the river... a new cantilevered section at the corner of Éamon de Valera Bridge and Albert Quay East, public seating and walkways and a Coke Zero bike share kiosk”.
An environmental screening report, prepared by Arup for Cork City Council, said that re-grading the quay height will mitigate against future flooding. It did not recommend a wall.
Save Cork City, the campaign group which has opposed the OPW’s flood defence plans for Cork city in favour of the construction of a tidal barrier, claims the scheme is the first step in building walled flood defences in the city centre. The group has urged Cork City Council to reconsider a tidal barrier which, it says, could promote significant economic development in the docklands.
John Hegarty, architect and campaigner with Save Cork City, said the proposal “lacks ambition and lacks independent advice, is hindering the economic development of Cork”.
“We believe that a badly written design brief for this project combined with a dogged approach to attempting to preserve the highly flawed LLFRS Walls scheme has led to a very poor result which has undoubtedly been presented to the public in a misleading way,” he said.
We welcome well designed, sustainable, public realm improvement that is location specific and that may support appropriate development, and regret the nature of the proposal.
"We are greatly concerned by the hidden flood defence which should be considered in relation to the overall Lower Lee Walls scheme.”
In its submission, Save Cork City claims that a tidal barrier remains a better solution to the city’s flood fears and describes the docklands proposal as “a waste of public funds”.
The Cork Docklands to City Centre Road Network Improvements Scheme is currently open for submissions from the public. These can be submitted until 4pm on July 23 either in writing to the roads department at City Hall or via consult.corkcity.ie.