The Chief Executive of Cork City Council has said delays in overhauling the city's flood defences is holding back development.
Ann Doherty was speaking during Cork Chamber of Commerce’s online breakfast briefing on Tuesday morning.
When asked by Chief Executive of Cork Chamber of Commerce Conor Healy, if we have got to a point where development, business and society is being held back by the system in place, Ms Doherty said that “the short answer to that would be yes”.
“When it comes to the management of flood in the city, I think sometimes the debate gets clouded about who spoke to who about what rather than the facts and the facts are that we flood, we have a flood problem, we have a very significant flood relief management scheme designed by the OPW which is the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme which addresses the uniqueness of flooding in Cork.
“Sometimes we forget, or is it that we lose sight of the fact that there is significant expertise put into the drafting of that scheme. OPW are the statutory agency responsible for flooding, but in our city we have amazing expertise of Arup who have internationally acclaimed recognition in flood management and they are who are working in designing the scheme for Cork,” she said.
She said that Morrisson’s Island in the city centre is a “glorified car park surrounded by derelict sites” on the waterfront which has “the most amazing rehabilitation and remediation opportunity for the city”, within which she said there is an opportunity for flood defences that will give flood protection to city centre businesses.
“That project has full planning from An Bord Pleanála, it already had full planning from the members of Cork City Council through a Part 8 process and now it’s subject to a judicial review. I fully respect that everybody has the right to have an opinion and to exercise their opinion but we do arrive at a point where we have to make decisions. Businesses need certainty, citizens need certainty,” she said.
She said that there needs to be a system put in place nationally where the process can be expedited in a way that “everybody can get their opinion heard”, however, she said that it is an “untenable approach to delivering infrastructure for our city if we need 210,000 people 100% happy 100% of the time”.