Morrison’s Island Update
A high court challenge to the Morrison’s Island Flood Relief Scheme and Public realm upgrade has commenced.
Speaking yesterday, Director of Public Affairs, Thomas Mc Hugh said: “It is disappointing to see vital flood defences and public realm for the City delayed at this stage. The plan for Morrison’s Island is overwhelmingly positive, protecting against 70-80% of the tidal flooding which affects the city centre island area and providing a comprehensive public realm upgrade to a corner of our city with great economic potential.”
The Chamber has engaged and made formal submissions throughout the development of the scheme noting:
- Morrison’s Island is the most critical flood intervention for Cork. The proposed works on Morrison’s Island will protect against 70-80% of the tidal flooding which affects the city centre island area. With the threat of flooding incidences increasing, it is crucial that the necessary works are undertaken without delay to protect the future of the City Centre as an attractive location for business and residential occupancy. If Cork is to achieve its future vision of a living city accommodating an extra 125,000 residents by 2040, as well as the overall strategic potential of Cork as Ireland’s second City, and as a location for growing investment, certainty is needed. It is not viable to have a City Centre that is threatened unnecessarily and on an ongoing basis from flood and weather incidences.
- The current quality of the urban space on Morrison’s Quay is exceptionally poor, with narrow and piecemeal pedestrian paving, decaying riverside railings and poor quality road and parking surfaces. In its current usage and state of repair it is generally a low value space, attractive almost exclusively as a location for parking. Added to this the area has huge potential as a south facing space including exceptional features such as the location of the Holy Trinity Church and Capuchin Friary and historic Quay walls.
- The proposed plan as outlined by Cork City Council develops a public space that will be invaluable as an amenity location for residents, workers and visitors alike. In the recent Q4 2017 Economic Trends survey undertaken by Cork Chamber, we asked members their priorities for creating a City environment for ‘family living’. To this, the number one response related to diversity of housing, with the call for an enhanced Cork transport network and infrastructure as the second priority, followed strongly by the development of public spaces and amenities
- The public realm project at Morrison’s Island will remove 115 parking spaces, with this we need to ensure that there are complementary parking and public transport measures put in place within the 12-month time period between consultation end and the commencement of works to mitigate impact on business. These parking spaces are primarily used by city centre workers and so we need to ensure that people have options. We strongly encourage City Hall to explore the potential for expanding Park & Ride facilities from other sides of the City and for better utilisation of Council car parks. Perhaps another site could be made available for professionals to park and walk to work? Furthermore, we need to expediate the adoption of tech solutions to the current pay and display parking disc system to more effectively utilise the available parking in the City. To be clear, we support the reduction in spaces provided proactive and tangible mitigation measures are put in place.
- Equally, the removal of central parking spaces should be used as a medium to challenge Government to early release of the €200m Bus Connects Programme and delivery of dedicated bus corridors as outlined in the National Development Plan, so that our city centre remains accessible for both workers, shoppers, residents and visitors.