WE do not have an exemplary record in long-term planning.
We often plan too small and miserably. We often plan as if infrastructure that meets today’s needs will also meet tomorrow’s needs. Anyone who remembers how very choked Cork’s ring roads were before flyovers were installed — they had been vetoed by the Department of Finance — won’t argue with that statement. Neither will anyone sitting in a tailback at the Jack Lynch Tunnel, which was designed to accommodate a fraction of the traffic using it. Those ensnared in Luas of Dart upgrades in Dublin will concur.
We are at that point again. Proposals on flood protection for Cork city centre suggest that quay walls might be heightened. This is hardly ambitious, much less revolutionary. It is
certainly not an inspiring, or even a respectful, addition to the cityscape. It is not even certain that they would prevent flooding, but it seems certain that they would be ugly and would limit docklands development. We must do better.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has suggested that a tidal barrier proposal by the Save Cork City (SCC) group as part of their response to the €140m Cork flood defence scheme needs to be re-examined. He is right. Any other course of
action would be reckless and short-term, especially in the face of climate change predictions. A tidal barrier will be needed eventually, so why wait? Let’s meet the challenge and forget about half-cocked, piecemeal quay walls.
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