MANAGEMENT at Cork City Council is confident that they can incorporate new communities into the fabric of the city without issue.
The proposed expansion of the city boundary will see the likes of Ballincollig and Blarney move from Cork County Council to Cork City Council’s jurisdiction, with elected members from these areas vowing to resist the move.
However, Pat Ledwidge, deputy chief executive of Cork City Council, said that the local authority is ‘quite confident’ it will manage the transition well, noting the strong sense of identity in city centre communities like Blackpool, Mayfield and Mahon.
“We are keen to link in with communities and we have a successful track record of community development in Cork city,” Mr Ledwidge said.
There have been calls for Cork City Council to hold meetings in the areas affected but Mr Ledwidge said this won’t happen until the final boundary has been agreed by the department. The implementation group is expected to present its findings today with department officials set to consider these over the coming weeks.
Mr Ledwidge said, “We are not anticipating any transitional difficulties here. We have very strong communities and a sense of identity in the city too, including in many of the communities that came in from the county 50 years ago. We are quite confident that we will manage this well.”
The proposed changes will increase the city’s population to approximately 210,000 and includes significant development land north-west of the city, as well as the airport, Glanmire, Douglas and Rochestown.
Little Island and Carrigtwohill will remain in the county. Mr Ledwidge said that it was not the ‘optimum’ solution but accepted that it is a broadly positive from the city’s perspective.
“It is not what the elected members or the executive saw as the optimum solution but it was important we agreed on the boundary line,” he said.
“It gives us three things that we wanted in the process: we retain our independent governance, which was our objective from day one; it gives us huge opportunities to grow, and the proposal is in accordance with principles set out in the national planning framework. Our main concern was that we would agree something that was in the best interests of the city.”