THE public has lost confidence in the events centre project, according to frustrated members of Cork City Council.
City officials last night reported that ‘meetings are continuing’ in an effort to bridge the funding gap between what has currently been allocated by the state and what is sought by the developers of the long-awaited project.
However, ‘there is no final agreement on the finances’, according to City Hall, despite two months having passed since BAM, Live Nation and Tanaiste Simon Coveney indicated that a deal was close to completion.
Members of Cork City Council called for a full and frank update on proceedings, including details of recent planning changes, such as the removal of the cinema from the project.
Fine Gael’s John Buttimer said that many of the signature elements have been amended or withdrawn.
“The retail space is reduced, the cinema is gone; the majority of us were behind an events centre site in this space with ancillary services. Now those services have been reduced significantly,” he said.
Fianna Fail councillor Ken O’Flynn slammed the process to date.
“The confidence is gone. A business owner in the city told me they were laughed out the door by their bank manager when they said that the value of a site would increase when the events centre was built,” he said.
“BAM weren’t happy to be brought in here before us but I give no apologies to them because of the level of public money that is being promised. We have heard about limits of funding that could trigger a re-tendering process; maybe we should look at that.”
Others claimed that the ‘goalposts have moved’ and that the public has been left in the dark.
City officials committed to presenting a full account of the changes in planning to members of council. They added that there is only so much that they can do in terms of moving the project along.