DEMOUNTABLE barriers, wide plazas, pedestrian walkways and more trees all form part of the revamped flood defence proposals for Cork city.
Members of the project team working on the €140 million Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme delivered a two-and-a-half hour briefing on the details of the project to Cork City Council last night.
They moved to answer questions and calm fears about the invasiveness of the scheme, which had been heavily criticised over the last two years for potentially cutting the city off from the river.
Specifically, critics had argued against the construction of additional walls on the quays in the city.
Andrew Haley from the Paul Hogarth Company detailed the plans, which have undergone a number of tweaks since they were published almost two years ago.
He said that the project team has taken on board the comments that emerged during the public consultation and have worked to minimize the impact of the defences on the city, to enhance the public realm and to improve connectivity to the river.
The new vision for the Lee Fields includes a wetland area on the riverside and a tree-lined boulevard on the Carrigrohane Road to make the area more attractive for walkers and cyclists.
Further down river, at the Shakey Bridge, the designs now include a stepped, riverside plaza next to the bridge, enhancing connectivity to the river.
Another plaza is proposed at Grenville Place, next to the Mercy Hospital, with Mr Haley also describing plans to have a continuous riverside walkway from the Lee Fields to the Custom House, including a boardwalk next to the Cork Cricket Club.
At the North Mall and Sullivan's Quay, previously proposed permanent walls have been replaced by plans for demountable barriers which could be put in place during forecasted floods and removed during dry weather.
Mr Haley said there are also plans to add extra trees to North Mall and Pope's Quay, keeping the existing trees and railings in place.
Grand Parade will see more grass areas and an improved setting for the war memorial, with the greenery doing the work of flood defence.
Across the river, at Sullivan's Quay, more trees, wider footpaths and cycle lanes, and demountable barriers are planned.
Councillors were told that at no point in the city will the quay wall be taller than 1.2 meters and that planned pumping stations will now be located below ground to minimise the impact on the public realm.
Mr Haley said that the design process is still ongoing and that further meetings with stakeholders are planned.
He said: "We have been working with the comments from the consultation stage and working with stakeholders - fire, civil defence, Meitheal Mara - and it helps. We're not there yet but it is an ongoing process. The concerns about walls and being cut off from the river - we have moved on from that. We are listening, we are trying desperately hard to find the best scheme for the city."