An extensive public consultation has commenced on how Cork should develop as a place to live and work over the coming decade.
It is part of the two year process to form a new Cork City Development Plan for the period of 2022-2028 and will map out how Cork responds to matters like population growth, housing, transport systems, biodiversity and climate change.
The plan will provide the framework for how the city will develop in the coming years. It is the first development plan created for the newly expanded city, following last year's boundary extension, which resulted in areas like Ballincollig, Douglas and Blarney moving into the city's local authority area, and saw its population grow to 210,000 people.
It is also the first plan developed in the context of the government's ambitious plans for the future of the city which identify Cork as Ireland's fastest growing city in the coming decades: the National Planning Framework aims for the city's population to grow by one-third and its jobs base to grow by 50% by 2031.
But, how can these aims be reconciled with battling climate change or adapting the city's transportation system, and what sort of focus should be put on the unique neighbourhoods in the city? Can this growth be achieved without jeopardising Cork's unique built heritage?
These are the types of questions posed as part of the public consultation which has been launched by Cork City Council. Cllr Joe Kavanagh, the Lord Mayor of Cork, urged the public to get involved in the process.
"Cork has all the vital components to attract more residents, workers, business and investment to the city," he said.
Higher population helps to attract public and private sector investment, particularly in areas of health, transport, education and housing. Job creation will be a key objective of the plan but an equally important objective is to ensure that our city’s transformation will deliver an enhanced quality of life for all of us and will be built upon respect for our city’s rich heritage.
A full review of the strategy for the city centre will be undertaken as part of the development plan, Cllr Seán Martin, chair of the Strategic Economic Development and Planning committee, said.
"Cork must be an attractive place to live and work for the city to achieve its potential. The overall strategy of the plan will be to drive sustainable growth by providing jobs where there are houses and houses where there are jobs. Importantly, this approach will enhance the vibrancy of the city centre, not just as a commercial hub, but as a great place to live," Mr Martin added.
An issues paper - 'Our City - Our Future' is available on www.corkcitydevelopmentplan.ie, at city libraries and at the planning counter at City Hall.
There are also plans to hold public meetings, depending on public health guidelines, as well as webinars and other forms of community engagement to gather as much input as possible.
The City Development Plan involves a 13 step process, including three public consultations. It should be completed within two years.
Submissions can be made at consult.corkcity.ie or in writing to City Hall until August 21, 2020.