FORMER Fine Gael candidate Julie O’Leary has started a petition in favour of high-rise, high-density development in the docklands.
The petition, which was signed by close to 400 people in its first few hours online, comes after a flurry of planning applications for tower complexes in the docklands area.
Though the scale and design of the planned towers have been controversial, Ms O’Leary said that developments like these are key for Cork to grow.
“The key to unlocking Cork’s potential is building high density and high rise development in and near the city centre,” she said.
“The Docklands and Tivoli will be key areas for this type of development, but we need to look at all our options within a reasonable distance of the city centre.”
She said that high-density developments would lead to less traffic, greater availability of housing, better public transport, and less urban sprawl.
“People will be able to walk or cycle to work, taking cars off the roads and reducing traffic congestion.
“More people work in a concentrated area in the city centre, justifying more buses and better cycle lanes on these key routes.
“Apartments are seriously lacking in Cork and high rise apartment building, while they won’t solve the housing crisis, will provide a much-needed injection of supply and will free up houses in the suburbs that are now being occupied by young professionals, who would prefer to live near to the city centre,” she said.
She said that these developments would make Cork “Luas feasible” too.
“High-density development facilitates us in upgrading and developing our public transport.
“We’ve already seen this in Ballincollig and Carrigaline — the density along the 220 bus route has allowed it to become a very successful 24-hour route.
“Better public transport will breathe life into the city centre.
“If people are less reliant on their cars, they are more likely to go for a pint after work, venture into town for a coffee on a Saturday, or go in to check out a festival or an event in the Crawford, Triskel or the Everyman.
“I’ve already seen this happening with people that work with me from Carrigaline and Crosshaven and can get that 220 route — town has suddenly become much more accessible,” she said.
She said that avoiding urban sprawl will make Cork more like continental European cities, and less like Dublin.
“I have friends from Madrid to Berlin that live in apartments right in the city centre, and all those European cities, living in a city centre apartment is the norm through all stages in life.
“What I really want to avoid in Cork is the sprawl that Dublin has suffered from.
“We do not want Cork City sprawling out and people being forced to put their children into the creche at 6am and commute for hours to get to work.
“We have the chance now to avoid this, by building up.
“At the moment, it isn’t happening. Looking upwards will help us solve a lot of problems,” she said.
Ms O’Leary withdrew from the next general election earlier this week. She had been selected to run for in Cork North Central, but failed to win a seat there in the local elections in May.
You can find the petition at: https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/support-high-rise-and-high-density-development-in-the-port-of-cork