City Hall yet to assess action on broken weir

City Hall yet to assess action on broken weir
Ballincollig Weir.

CORK City Council has yet to assess what action it will take on the broken weir at Ballincollig it has inherited from Cork County Council.

Estimates have placed the cost of repairing the weir at around half a million Euro but City Hall has said it has not yet had time to look at documentation received from County Hall on the structure that collapsed five years ago.

The historic weir deteriorated to such an extent that it crumbled in late 2014, having been built in the 1790s to divert water to the local gunpowder mills. It had been in a state of disrepair for years prior to the collapse.

Its deterioration meant the weir was rendered accessible to the public and the water channels leading to the mill have dried up. The weir was then blocked off from public use by Cork County Council but locals merely scale the railings to walk directly onto it.

Councillors in the area have warned that there is a significant risk to the public at the weir, which is located at Ballincollig Regional Park and is a popular site for people congregate during fine weather.

City Council director of environmental services Valerie O’Sullivan said an assessment of amenities inherited from the council as part of May’s boundary extension has not yet been completed so no funding streams or possible solutions have yet been explored.

“Prior to undertaking any new large scale Capital projects in the City in the short term, a detailed assessment of all existing amenities and related infrastructure must be undertaken along with identifying areas with a known shortfall in amenity/recreation facilities,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

“When this is established, projects will be prioritised in line with the greatest need and benefit to local communities and the City. The reinstatement of the weir and timescale for same will be considered in that context. All opportunities for funding including various streams of EU grants will be explored for selected projects,” Ms O’Sullivan added.

Local Fianna Fáil Colm Kelleher councillor has asked the council to act urgently and communicate a detailed timescale on the repair of the weir.

Ballincollig River Lee weir in the public park. Pic: Larry Cummins.
Ballincollig River Lee weir in the public park. Pic: Larry Cummins.

“There are various streams of funding that can be tapped into. The weir has been in disrepair now for some time,” Mr Kelleher added.

Chief executive Ann Doherty has said the council has not yet had time to make an assessment of the weir’s state.

“We only just took this over and received reports from Cork County Council. We will be looking at funding that is available but we only took it over a couple of weeks ago so we need to be given a little bit of time to look at the reports and what needs to be done,” Ms Doherty added.

Fine Gael councillor Derry Canty has long warned that somebody could be killed or seriously injured at the location, which is a popular gathering spot for locals.

JB Barry & Partners were commissioned by Cork County Council to examine options at the weir in 2017. They identified four options, including a repair of the weir and a new fish pass mid-river, costing up to €500,000, none of which were considered value for money by the weir’s former local authority.

Catryn Power, a retired Cork county archaeologist, said repair costs for the weir have spiralled in the last 18 years due to a lack of action. Earlier this year, she described its state as “terrifying”.

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