CONTRACTORS have moved in to start a €53,000 clean-up of an illegal dump on the northside of the city.
Burnt out cars, beds, commercial waste and thousand of rubbish bags have already been cleared from Ellis’s Yard in Ballyvolane in an operation which could take anything up to two weeks to complete.
Representatives from the Department of the Environment were also on site to assess the level of dumping as contractors Loftus of Cork began their work.
Work to secure the site is expected to run in tandem with the clean-up and City Hall is planning to erect perimeter fencing. Security cameras have already been installed.
Local councillor Ken O’Flynn (FF) said securing the site is key to preventing future fly-tipping.
He has called for the local authority to explore options for the future use of the site and also deal with overcrowding at the adjacent halting site at Spring Lane immediately.
“What strikes me is the amount of domestic waste and commercial waste that is there at the moment," he said. "There are beds, there are burnt out cars. There is everything and anything.
"There is a serious body of work that will last three or four days."
He described the clean-up as a very positive day for the Ballyvolane area.
“The next step is securing the site, which will be done in the next few days and then I am calling on Cork City Council to seek expressions of interest for a permanent solution," he said. "There is no community centre in Ballyvolane. There are excellent sports clubs and there is a use and a purpose for that land.
“I want to see it going to community use.
“Then we need to look at the halting site which is a problem next door. What we now need to do is look at the overcrowding at Spring Lane. We have 10 legal bays for families there and 30 illegal bays. Cork City Council need to seek Government funding and build an additional three halting sites to facilitate the families elsewhere,” he added.
Ballyvolane resident Noreen Murphy, who has long campaigned for City Council to clear the site, said she is delighted the operation has begun but is worried past mistakes may be repeated if the site is not secured properly.
“It’s a very good day, this is going to make the site safe for everybody in the area once this toxic waste is removed," she said. "I think people power won out as we have brought so much attention to it. I don’t the Council had a choice but to do something. We have also asked the European Commission to look at cause to take infringement procedures against the Environmental Protection Agency and Cork City Council for their inaction.
“I’d like to see the site secured. It’s a fabulous flat site close to the city centre, next to the North Ring Road on a bus route. It’s perfect for housing.
"City Council should build a wall around the site, not a fence in order to secure the site fully."
Local Labour area representative John Maher has called for City Hall to announce a “solid plan” for the site.