CONTROVERSY over the route for the Passage Greenway continued among city councillors this week with calls for a special briefing on the Lee to Sea project.
The recent identification of the preferred route for the section of the greenway along Rochestown Road has proved controversial among representatives and residents alike.
A number of possible routes were identified to enhance the section of the greenway including a major upgrade of the existing route which was identified as the emerging preferred route.
However, it is understood that 75% of respondents to a public consultation process stated a preference for a coastal route.
Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill attempted to propose a motion at a City Council meeting that both the road and costal route options are included in Phase 2 of the public engagement process which includes preliminary design and further consultation, also proposing that a special briefing meeting be held.
“Following phase 2, the preferred option moves to phase 3 and that a special briefing meeting be held on this to discuss the impact on the Lee to Sea cycle route,” he said.
He called for a “fair comparison to both options which would include a detailed design and a list of pros and cons” which he said he firmly believes “will appease the public to the extent that glaring problems will appear on either side”.
Mr Cahill said that the motion would allow them to do “due diligence” in relation to the two options that are preferred out of a total of five. “I think it’s incumbent on us to have properly investigated both sides of the argument,” he said. He was met with opposition at the meeting with questioning as to whether he could introduce the motion, though a number of councillors did echo his calls for a special briefing.
Green Party councillor Dan Boyle asked that the council be consulted on the Lee to Sea project and called for a briefing on it while Independent councillor Ken O’Flynn said he has received a considerable amount of emails from residents and asked for a special briefing of council on the greenway proposal.
Councillor Kieran McCarthy said he was “disappointed” with some of the comments around the greenway.
“From what I see around Twitter, there is a severe amount of bullying going on. I don’t say that lightly.”
The project team identified the possible impact on the adjoining Special Protection Area as well as security and privacy concerns as some of the main reasons why the coastal routes behind Island View and St Gerard’s Place were not brought forward.
Residents of the areas which would be affected by the coastal options said that they were “overjoyed” with the news of the selected route and highlighted concerns of security, privacy and conservation if the coastal route was to be chosen.
Meanwhile, Rochestown Area Residents and Business Association have been vocal about their opposition to the road route.
A solicitor representing the association wrote to An Garda Síochána on a submission which was made as part of the consultation process against the coastal routes.
The submission was said to be by An Garda Síochána but gardaí have since said that “no official submission” had been made.
Gardaí confirmed that enquiries are ongoing to determine the facts around the submission.
Speaking at the council meeting, director of infrastructure development Gerry O’Beirne said the council is supportive of the concept of the Lee to Sea project.
He added that they have briefed the area members on the Passage Greenway project and “will continue to do so as we would with any other project in a particular area”.
The upgrade for the selected route will include the narrowing of traffic lanes aimed at reducing traffic speed and the realigning of the road to create additional space for the greenway as well as the segregation of the enhanced greenway from traffic through the introduction of a high-quality landscaped strip between the greenway and vehicle lanes.