NEW images have emerged of public realm changes in areas of Cork city where flood defence works would be implemented.
The Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS) involves constructing flood defences along Cork’s quays. The Office of Public Works (OPW) claims that their scheme, running from Inniscarra Dam to the City Centre, will protect over 2100 properties, including 900 homes and 1200 businesses, against tidal and river flooding.
The images show changes that would occur in a number of locations - including Mardyke Walk, Andersons Quay, the Kingsley Hotel and the Grand Parade - after the scheme is developed.
The scheme, estimated to cost in the region of €140m and still awaiting ministerial approval, has been criticised in some quarters with the Save Cork City group claiming that a tidal barrier in Lough Mahon, combined with the repair of Cork’s historic quay walls and using the existing infrastructure of the upstream dams, can better protect Cork from flooding.
However, the OPW, Cork City Council and project engineers Arup all say the LLFRS is the best solution for Cork.
A spokesperson for LLFRS said today: "As with previous images published by the scheme, these latest visuals show again that claims that the scheme is comprised of high walls that hide the River Lee from view are simply incorrect. In addition to protecting these locations from flooding, the riverside is more open and safer.
"Shortly after the State’s flood policy review in 2004, Cork’s acute risk was recognised when the River Lee catchment, including Cork City, was chosen for one of the first detailed catchment wide flood risk assessment studies.
"After more than six years of rigorous analysis and the assessment of all possible solutions, Halcrow, international leaders in flood risk management, identified a preferred scheme for Cork.
"A multidisciplinary team including Arup and JBA, both of whom are also leading international experts in flood risk management, were tasked with reconsidering afresh all of the possible options in even more detail, (working with the Office of Public Works, the Lead Agency for Flood Risk Management in the State), independently of the Halcrow work.
"The proposed Scheme was exhibited in 2016/2017. The community of Cork has engaged with the scheme through the numerous public consultation phases over the last 13 years. This has made it possible to take on board, to the greatest extent possible, the views of the public throughout the ongoing evolution of the Scheme’s design."
LLFRS must receive approval from the Minister of Finance, Paschal Donohoe, before construction can begin.