The owners of 200 homes and businesses in a flood risk zone no longer have to live in fear of flooding when it rains, the minister with responsibility for flood defences said on Monday as he marked the completion of a major flood relief scheme in Cork City.
Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW), Patrick O’Donovan, unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the new Douglas flood relief scheme which provides flood protection to 221 properties.
Delivered by the OPW in partnership with Cork city and county councils, it included works to improve the flow of the Ballybrack and Grange streams in certain areas, the construction of flood walls and embankments in some areas, and the replacement of river crossings.
The design also included public realm improvements to Douglas Community Park with new pathways, planting and seating, and the creation of a public plaza on Church Street.
It is one of eight OPW flood relief schemes across Cork, with more than 50 completed nationwide — schemes the OPW said will protect over 11,900 properties, with an economic benefit to the State in damage and losses avoided, estimated to be in the region of €1.9bn.
Mr O’Donovan at a time when our future is becoming increasingly impacted by climate change, he was delighted to mark the completion of the Douglas scheme.
“The importance of climate adaptation is critical across all stages of planning flood relief schemes, ensuring communities like Douglas are protected when it comes to facing the effects of climate change into the future.”
Mr O'Donovan was joined at the ceremony in Douglas Community Centre by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath; Lord Mayor Cllr Deirdre Forde; chief executive of Cork City Council, Ann Doherty; engineering consultants Arup, and contractors McGinty O’Shea.
Mr McGrath said the scheme offers reassurance to families and businesses in Douglas that substantial protections are now in place to mitigate the risk to them from future potential flooding.
Ms Forde, a resident of Douglas, said the scheme will provide much-needed flood protection to a community which has had to endure many floods over the years, including the serious flooding of June 2012. She said:
This OPW funded scheme will also provide peace of mind to the community and give confidence in Douglas as an area to live, work, invest and socialise.
The scheme is one of 151 such schemes across the country funded under the government’s €1.3bn investment to manage Ireland’s flood risk through the National Development Plan.
Final details for the OPW’s massive Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme, the single largest investment in flood defences in the history of the state, are being finalised for submission for approval next year.
The city council’s Morrison’s Island flood defence and public realm improvement scheme is the subject of an appeal to the Supreme Court. A decision is awaited.
The €20m Blackpool flood relief scheme was the subject of a legal challenge last year, which led to the state consenting to an order for more public consultation.