WILTON residents have hit back at City Hall in an ongoing dispute over the merits of the Wilton Corridor Project - a scheme that will see some residents lose several metres of their gardens to widen the road for buses and cyclists.
Ahead of a vote at tonight's council meeting on the project, members of the Wilton Residents Action Group (WRAG) condemned a statement released by Cork City Council last week.
The City Hall statement rejected claims from residents about a lack of consultation on the project and insisted that residents' concerns have been listened to.
John Leahy, a member of the residents' group, accepted that they had met Cork City Council engineers on three occasions but said that all suggestions and alternatives were ignored.
“We engaged fully in the process and put forward many alternatives and suggestions. However, after several hours of discussion, not a single change was accepted, leading us to the conclusion that further engagement was pointless," he said.
Mr Leahy said that requests for a meeting with City Hall chief executive Ann Doherty were ignored.
WRAG also took issue with the assertion from Cork City Council that the Cork South West/Central Strategic Transport Corridor Study deemed the Wilton Corridor “to be of the highest priority.”
A Cork City Council statement said: “The study identified transport infrastructural deficiencies in the area and recommended a list of prioritised investment using a cost versus benefits evaluation process with regard to the level of grant funding available.
“The proposed solutions focused on the delivery and promotion of sustainable transport infrastructure,”
WRAG said they received a full copy of the Clifton Scannell Emerson (CSE) report on the Cork South West Strategic Transport Study under Freedom of Information in 2016.
“Contrary to the statement by Cork City Council the study does not recommend six lanes of traffic; the main recommendations on Wilton Road were minor alterations to the bus lane, improvements to footpaths and a toucan crossing at Wilton Gardens without any signalisation.
“Upgrades were recommended for Dennehy’s Cross junction and Wilton Roundabout. Only a short section near Dennehy’s Cross on the western side was to be purchased by Compulsory Purchase Order,” A WRAG statement said.
Mr Leahy added: “No risk assessment or cost-benefit analysis was carried out for the wider scheme. Without full scoping and financial evaluation and assessment for the entire corridor, it contravenes common sense and more importantly, flies in the face of the government Public Spending Code.”
WRAG said their main objection to the scheme is that the entire route from the city centre to the western suburbs has “serious unresolved pinch points or blockages” and this means that the scheme will “have no beneficial impact, but will come at enormous unnecessary cost to the hapless taxpayer.”
Finally, the Wilton residents said that the scheme will most likely become a template for the 100 kilometres of bus lanes proposed under the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) for the rest of the city.
“Residents on those routes should be made very aware of the hugely negative impact on their quality of life and their environment coming their way,” Mr Leahy said.
Cork City Councillors will today vote on the Wilton Corridor project at the Council meeting held at City Hall at 5.30pm.