CORK County Council has narrowly approved a controversial 3.5 million greenway which will complete the link between the Cork city and Crosshaven but which one councillor said could turn walkers into "skittles" for cyclists to knock down.
The project was approved after a lengthy debate with 22 councillors in favour and 20 against, with three independent councillors based outside the area abstaining.
There are currently greenways between Blackrock and Passage West, and between Carrigaline and Crosshaven, and this proposal will upgrade and extend walking routes in the Passage West and Monkstown area to link them.
However, due to the width of the road in one part of the route, between Glenbrook and Raffeen Bridge, a number of councillors said that it would be dangerous to create a mixed-use route for both walkers and cyclists.
Fianna Fail councillor Mary Rose Desmond said that the walkway is used primarily by older people, who would be put in danger if they had to share it with cyclists.
"I think we are looking at a situation where the primary users of this pathway will be like skittles, to be honest," she said.
Independent councillor Marcia D'Alton said that she was "very sad" that she could not support the greenway project without the safety concerns being addressed. She said that the length of the walkway people are concerned about is known locally as the 'cardiac mile' as people use it to keep fit, but they now fear that they won't be able to use it anymore.
She said it is also an issue for cyclists, who had no barrier with traffic at the same section.
Fine Gael councillor John A. Collins said that the whole project could not be held up because of one stretch of the walkway.
"It's a pity that a section of a 25 km walk from Páirc Uí Chaoimh to Crosshaven is obstructing and preventing the completion of that particular project. It's not just for the people of Monkstown, and Glenbrook, and Rafeen, it's for the people of Cork.
Other councillors warned that it would be wrong to say no to 3.5million in funding and that the issues could still be addressed later on.