CITY councillors will tonight vote on a raft of measures for phase one of the city's flood defence and public realm project at Morrison's Island.
A report on the public consultation of the €6 million scheme, which is to be completed separately to the rest of the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme, will be presented to elected members and includes a number of concessions to ease the concerns of nearby traders who fear that the removal of parking spaces from the area could be a death knell for the city.
The project at Morrison's island will include the installation of integrated floodgates being installed at Trinity Bridge and Parnell Plaza with an upgraded drainage system and pumping stations to manage water discharge during high tides.
Traffic flow on the island will be changed to a one-way clockwise system and the lower quay will be pedestrianised with the development of a plaza area at the eastern end of Morrison's Quay.
A paved pedestrian walkway will be installed with right angle parking spaces replaced by parallel spaces to limit the loss of parking.
Ground levels on both sides of the quays will be regraded so new parapets will no higher than knee height.
Initial plans would have seen the removal of more than 100 parking spaces, a move that prompted outcry by the city's business community, though it is understood that several concessions are under consideration to ease this loss, including the provision of additional parking at Union Quay and the introduction of reduced rates at Black Ash park and ride.
It is understood that there is broad support among the elected members for the proposals, though there have been a number of vocal concerns raised to date.
More than 1,400 submissions were received on the plans but it is noted in the City Council document that 52% of these were forwarded through an online objection platform created by the Save Cork City Group.
The report states a further 213 emails were “carbon-copied” from a Save Cork City Gmail account which City officials say would bring the number of submissions based on the opposition groups information closer to 68% The report says: “It should be noted that the online objection platform created by the opposition group did not provide access to any of the actual proposals, and in fact used outdated/superseded photomontages as its cover photo of the proposed scheme. The website provided a biased narrative around the Morrison's Island Scheme, without offering the site visitor the opportunity to view the details of the proposal."
The Save Cork City Group has claimed this is not the case and has expressed concerns about the project.
“It remains unknown what the Morrison's Island proposals would cost, who is paying for them and in what proportion the cost would be divided,” a spokesperson said.
“We are calling for an independent review of the walls scheme and the tidal barrier for Cork and consider reasons for the dismissal of the tidal barrier at Little Island to be highly questionable,” the spokesperson added.
The City Council planning report states a tidal barrier solution is not “economically viable” and the only “viable solution” is the raised quay walls scheme proposed by the OPW. The remainder of the OPW's flood defence proposals are set to be sent for ministerial approval later this year.