CORK County Council has been urged to restore a Cobh coastal stretch that has been closed for five years to public use.
Battery Strand, near the Titanic Gardens and the Holy Ground was closed in 2013 due to overhanging cliffs and the risk that they may collapse. The 12- to 15-metre embankment is also at risk from landslides and falling rock.
The local authority is currently procuring an engineering consultant to carry out a review of the stability of the coastline adjacent to Battery Strand and the Titanic Gardens after funding was made available from the Cobh municipal district.
However, Councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla (IND) said the scope of the project should be widened, and the cost of the report should not be taken out of the Cobh municipal district budget after the area was not awarded Department of Environment funding for at-risk coastal areas.
“If we consider Cobh Town a major tourist attraction that depends on tourism, then take a casual walk the harbour-front east towards Battery Strand. The whole front is in a terrible state of disrepair with rubble there for decades from collapsed buildings and so on. The review should look at the full depth of that,” he said.
“There’s a strong local community that have been using the strand area for a long time, and it needs to be put back into use as a local amenity.
“There’s a long stretch of what should be beautiful beach looking out on to Spike Island which would be a massive attraction and facility for the people of Cobh if it were opened.” he added.
However, Cathal Rasmussen (LAB) replied that he disagreed with Mr Ó Cadhla on the condition of the coastal area.
“We’re all aware of how serious the issue is at Battery Strand,” he said. “We have a fabulous tourism industry in Cobh. We’re not a rundown area, and piers are not falling apart. I would take exception to what Councillor Ó Cadhla is saying about rubble, I’m not quite sure what that’s about. We do have areas where piers are not 100% but we are working toward addressing this,” he added.
County Hall senior executive officer Sean O’Callaghan said the scope of the coastal review is limited to just Battery Strand.
County Engineer Kevin Morey said the report should focus on Battery Strand alone due to complications associated with erosion projects.
“Coastal erosion projects are some of the most expensive a local authority can do,” he told councillors.
“There are an awful lot of unknowns and high cliffs. I would recommend it be limited, in the first instance, that Battery Strand.”