BUSINESS chiefs in Cork have welcomed the approval of flood defence and public realm works at Morrison’s Island, insisting that it should allow dozens of businesses to secure flood insurance for the first time in almost a decade.
The works aim to eradicate 80% of the flood risk for the city centre, solving a decades-long issue in the Morrison’s Island area, which has been breached 12 times this year.
While none of these floods have caused significant issues, it has heightened concerns among businesses and residents in the area.
Lawrence Owens, chief executive of the Cork Business Association (CBA), said that the proposals will solve a long-standing issue in the city.
“Our concerns were always related to the flood defence aspects,” he said. “This is a huge weight off for those in an area which regularly floods. Hopefully, we can now look forward to the businesses in this area getting flood insurance again.”
Mr Owens also welcomed efforts by City Hall to re-analyse the parking situation in the area.
The current plans will result in the loss of more than 100 spaces on Morrison’s Island, prompting some concern among traders.
However, an analysis of the use of the space on Morrison’s Island showed that just 44 spaces were available for shoppers, with the remainder taken up by commuters for eight hours a day during the survey last week.
To mitigate these losses, City Hall is proposing the re-orientation of spaces on Union Quay and the introduction of a weekly rate at the Black Ash park and ride to increase use. It will also explore options of adding temporary parking spaces on sites in the docklands.
Mr Owens said, “We welcome the analysis of the spaces and the willingness of Cork City Council to look at solutions there. Proposals, such as the shortening of disc times from two hours to one hour, will encourage use by shoppers instead of commuters.”
City officials have stressed the importance of the public realm aspects, which include new plazas, seating and boardwalks from Parliament Bridge to Trinity Bridge.
Mr Owens said it is a welcome revamp for an under-used area in the heart of the city.