NO independent review of the city’s €140m flood defence plans will be sanctioned by the Government, city councillors have been told.
Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan asked council officials to comment on a motion passed by councillors asking for a review to be carried out on the Office of Public Works’ plans which involve raised quay walls and demountable barriers.
Ms Ryan said: “The council passed a motion for an independent review, that should be put forward.” She added the council should be able to pursue a review “at its own behest”.
However, City Hall director of operations Sean Lynch said a review has been ruled out by the Minister responsible.
“The OPW is the agency responsible for the assessment and development of Flood Relief schemes nationally. Cork City Council councillors called for an independent review of the Lower Lee (Cork City) Flood Relief Scheme. In August 2018, the Minister of State for the OPW and flood relief Kevin Moran responded that there was no requirement for a further review,” Mr Lynch added.
More than 600 submissions were received by An Bord Pleanála on the revised Morrison’s Island street upgrade and flood defences scheme which is separate to the OPW section.
Cork City Council is planning the major upgrade of the area to create a three-metre wide pedestrian walkway, changing the traffic to one-way in a clockwise direction, reducing the parking spaces and creating open plazas at Trinity Bridge and at the South Mall.
The Morrison’s Island scheme is being carried out by the local authority before the OPW takes over the €140m project. Councillors have been seeking a review of this part of the scheme. The OPW plans have been the subject of debate since being published.
Lobby group Save Cork City believes an independent report they commissioned by UK hydro engineering company HR Wallingford on a tidal barrier at Lough Mahon costing up to €170m would be a better solution than a walled scheme but the OPW say their consultants, ARUP, have valued a barrier at €1.6bn and said the cost would be prohibitive to pursuing this option.