Morrison’s Island flood defence plans to include new public riverside walkway

Morrison’s Island flood defence plans to include new public riverside walkway

School of Commerce, Holy Trinity church, RTÉ’s offices on Fr Matthew Quay on Morrison’s Island. Plans are in place for an enhanced streetscape to include a new riverside walkway and public amenity area. Picture: Denis Scannell

A new walkway, benches and an enhanced streetscape are planned for Morrison's Island as Cork City Council looks to lodge plans for flood defences in the area in the coming weeks.

The local authority assumed responsibility for the city centre elements of the city's long-awaited flood defences. It will carry out works from Parliament Bridge to Parnell Bridge, while the Office of Public Works tackles the rest of the scheme on the River Lee.

Plans are set to be released for public consultation within the next four weeks, according to officials at Cork City Council, who said the scheme is about 'more than just flood relief.'

David Joyce, acting director of services for environment and recreation at the local authority, said there are ambitious plans to revamp the public realm in the Morrison's Island and Father Mathew Quay area as part of the scheme.

He said this includes a new riverside walkway and public amenity area.

"There will be an external walkway, an enhanced streetscape, a seating area with benches and trees - this will be a really lovely area that provides much-needed connectivity with the river.

"If people are going for a walk or a run around the city, this will be a very nice addition to what we have already."

There are no plans to raise Trinity bridge, despite some calls from the public to do so.

Concerns have been raised that the heightened water level in the south channel, a result of the OPW plans, will close off the area to boats.

Mr Joyce said that raising Trinity bridge alone would not be sufficient to offset this impact.

He said, "We are proposing a floating deck above the bridge, not raising the bridge.

"Raising Trinity bridge would not make the south channel navigable to larger boats because once the water level has risen, it will be the same height as Éamon de Valera, Clontarf and Parnell bridges."

The current quay walls in the area are concrete and include basic tube railings.

These will be taken out, while the quay wall is to be raised by approximately two feet.

On top of these, new bollards, described as 'historically sensitive' to the area, will be added, together with link chains.

The walls will be built with salvaged stone to ensure that the appearance of the area is not diminished.

Mr Joyce said, "Once it is finished, you won't be able to tell the difference in the tone of the wall."

Mr Joyce urged interest groups, residents and businesses to engage with Cork City Council over the course of the consultation period.

He said, "I understand and welcome input from anyone, including Save Cork City and other groups, over the course of the process."

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