'A tale of two cities': major amenities planned for Cork's southside amid claims the northside is forgotten

'A tale of two cities': major amenities planned for Cork's southside amid claims the northside is forgotten
A pitch and BMX track at Tramore Valley Park in Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.

CORK City Council's investment in public amenities and parks is “heavily imbalanced” toward the southside, it has been claimed.

In recent days, the city council passed plans to upgrade the Passage Railway Greenway on the southside and an ambitious plan to revamp the Marina Park, at a cost of €15m to €20 million, is expected to commence next year.

Approximately €42 million was pumped into opening Tramore Valley Park, which opened earlier this year, and plans to address access issues are likely to see further investment in the coming years.

Meanwhile, on the northside, a €1.5 million design plan for the North West Regional Park is the only sign of large scale investment in amenities by the council north of the Lee.

A view of the proposed Passage greenway upgrade including the reinstated railway bridge and access ramp.
A view of the proposed Passage greenway upgrade including the reinstated railway bridge and access ramp.

Calls have been made for City Hall to purchase the former John Barleycorn hotel site in Glanmire to develop a northeast regional park by combining with John O'Callaghan Park but the grounds remain on the private market.

Workers' Party councillor Ted Tynan said more investment is needed in amenities in the north-east and north-west wards.

“I have been saying for years that there is a blacklisting of the northside of the city. It is a tale of two cities.

“In 2008, I made a submission to the City Development Plan that the Glen River Valley be protected and the long term vision would be to turn it into a parkland with cycleways and walkways and bridges for crossing.

“The northside is totally devoid of walkways. The Blackrock to Passage walkways is absolutely beautiful but there is absolutely nothing like that on the northside.

“The Glen River could be extended halfway out to Glanmire and it would be a nice, pleasant country walk for 10-12km.

Artist's impression of proposed Marina Park in Cork
Artist's impression of proposed Marina Park in Cork

“There have been many housing developments in the last 20 years on the northside but in regards to walkways, cycleways and areas for recreational use, it's sadly lacking and there is a huge imbalance,” Mr Tynan added.

Labour councillor John Maher said the imbalance could continue in this term of the council with southside councillors outnumbering their northside counterparts by 19 to 12.

“It definitely seems to be southside driven,” he told The Echo.

“Murphy's farm (Bishopstown playground) was done last year, as was Tramore Valley Park. It's the same with the bus routes improvements, they are all on the southside. It's frustrating. We're going into budget talks and it's something that needs to be addressed.

“Unfortunately, some populist councillors were happy not to increase the property tax and as a result of that, I imagine there will be very slim pickings. The Glen Park is a city council-owned park and we don't have a playground in it. People from the northside go to the southside for playgrounds. There is no playground in Mayfield.

“The Glen Park has greenway potential. It would link between the Mayfield and the Glen into the city. There is plenty of opportunity on the northside,” he added.

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