Fine Gael Cork South Central Senator, Jerry Buttimer, said the National Spatial Strategy is the engine that has the potential to drive Cork and the entire southern region forward so that it can fully realise its potential.
“Implementation of the National Spatial Strategy presents a huge challenge given that we now live in a different world than when it was first launched eight years ago. However, a firm commitment to it will enable Cork to act as the driving force in the promotion, development and expansion of commercial life and in the creation of sustainable communities. In short, adherence to the Strategy will facilitate Cork kick-starting the regeneration of the south.
“The Government’s unwillingness to prioritise the regeneration of the Cork Docklands during the good times, and its failure to publish the Docklands Report, has failed the people of Cork. Procrastination resulted in the people of Cork City moving to suburbia with the result that we now have increased traffic congestion and people living in high density housing with amenities and services provided, not by local authorities, but by voluntary and sporting organisations. Quality of life for many has deteriorated rapidly with chronic gridlock in the city as people converge from Grange, Donnybrook, Frankfield, Douglas, Carrigaline and Bishopstown. Decisions on future projects designed to right the wrongs now need to be made based on value for money and knock-on benefits of each project for the local economy.
“The Eastern Gateway Bridge is essential in turning Cork’s fortunes around as it involves the use of 160 hectares of land with the potential to bring 22,000 people into the city, creating residential units, including social and affordable housing, as well as 27,000 new jobs. For this to proceed, use of the gateway innovation fund will be needed. The newly opened Gateway Innovation Fund must be used to assist the construction of the Bridge
“If we are serious about connectivity and the ability to attract international businesses such as pharmaceutical industries, we must upgrade the N28, ensure the roll-out of broadband to all corners of the country and puts in place new traffic management structures with adequate public transport links.
“If the political will exists, Cork can flourish and act as the driver for the entire Munster region. The National Spatial Strategy has the potential to see Cork as the driving force for the regeneration of the south, propelling the county forward to meet its potential. However, that requires commitment from Government. Something that, to date, has been sorely lacking.”