DRAFT PROPOSALS for the long-awaited North West Regional Park are set to be progressed in the coming months but one councillor believes a multinational technology giant might be able to lend a hand.
Kenneth Collins of Sinn Féin is calling on Cork City Council to speed up plans for the Knocknaheeny-based amenity by approaching Apple Ireland, which has a campus in Hollyhill, to see if the technology company might be able to provide financial help.
City Hall confirmed last May that funding is secured for the design of the North-West Regional Park but no funding streams have been identified for construction as of yet.
Its director of operations Valerie O’Sullivan told councillors this week that consultants will be sought this winter before initial plans are presented to the public.
“It is intended to engage landscape consultants during quarter four 2019 - resources permitting - to prepare draft proposals for the park for consultation with north-west ward members and the local community,” Ms O’Sullivan said.
The amenity is planned to service the Knocknaheeny area and to complement City Northwest Quarter Regeneration Masterplan and will be the northside’s version of Ballincollig’s Regional Park.
The final planning stages for the project are scheduled for March of next year and news of progress comes months after City Hall opened the Tramore Valley Park in the summer.
The local authority is awaiting construction on the Marina Park - which has been delayed due to tender issues. The local authority was recently criticised by northside councillors John Maher and Ted Tynan for “imbalanced” parks development in the city.
Mr Collins believes Apple could enter into the north-west project as a joint venture with the city council in order to deliver an amenity that will be hugely beneficial to the area.
“There is a park already across the road from the proposed site but it was the subject of vandalism recently,” said Mr Collins.
“The park could be similar to the Regional Park in Ballincollig and across the road where the current park is you can put in housing - so it’s a win-win for residents as residents will have housing facing a park.
“Apple computers are up there in the area and they are a big multinational and Cork City Council should be tapping into this and asking Apple to get involved as a joint venture. The park could include playing pitches, walks and an outdoor gym.
“We need to get this moving and get the plans and design in place so we can start looking at funding for the construction of the park,” Mr Collins added.
Knocknaheeny is currently undergoing extensive social housing building under the regeneration project and Mr Collins said services and facilities are much-needed to run in tandem with this and an expected growth in population for the north-west area over the next five to 10 years.
Across the city at Glanmire, there are also hopes to develop a north-east regional park.
Independent councillor Ger Keohane said the former John Barleycorn hotel site could be combined with John O’Callaghan Park to create a green area for the people of Glanmire amid rapid housing construction. He is urging the city council to buy the site.
The 5.4-acre site was pitched to retailers a few years ago but nothing has yet been developed on it.