OPW MINISTER VISITS CORK: To inspect flood defence schemes in City, Bandon, Skibbereen

25 July 2017
By Bryan Smyth
bryan@TheCork.ie

Minister Kevin “Boxer” Moran T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief was in Cork today (25th July) to visit flood relief schemes and review progress on major flooding programmes in both Cork City and County, which will benefit from some €300 million in total of Government funding for projects already completed, under construction currently and planned.

Minister “Boxer” Moran met with officials from Cork City Council who are working with the Office of Public Works (OPW) to bring forward the planned Lower Lee (Cork City) Flood Relief Scheme which will see €140 million invested in flood relief funding in the heart of the City. It is estimated that the 2009 flood event alone cost householders and businesses about €90m.  The Minister also met with business representatives and with local residents to hear at first-hand how they have been impacted by flooding in the City. Many also spoke of their concerns about the visual effects of the City Centre scheme in particular. The planned scheme will protect businesses and other property owners from the 1 in 100 year fluvial (river) flood event and the 1 in 200 year tidal flood, protecting 2,100 properties. Minister “Boxer” Moran also met with representatives from the Save Cork City campaign group in order to hear their views on the proposals.

The Minister is also visiting flood relief schemes underway in Bandon and Skibbereen representing a combined investment of over €50m and which will protect 670 properties with work set to be complete by 2019.  He will also meet with local interests in Clonakilty in relation to the flood relief scheme due to commence later this year in that town.

 

Infomation about the Lower Lee (Cork City) Flood Relief Scheme according to the the OPW
(it should be noted that  some people in Cork disagree with elements of the below)

  • Cork City has a significant flooding problem and floods regularly
  • The 2009 flood event alone is estimated to have cost householders and businesses about €90m
  • OPW appointed Arup in 2013 to further develop the proposals identified in the pilot Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Study on the River Lee
  • The proposed scheme has been carefully developed by a multi-disciplinary team and is a viable, cost effective and sustainable scheme which will protect the City against both fluvial (river) and tidal flood events

Benefits of the Scheme:

  • Protection to over 2,100 properties from both tidal and fluvial (river) flood risk
  • City free of regular flood events of the past
  • Enhancing connectivity to the River with provision of almost 1km of new River Walkway in the City, retaining over 90% of the existing railings and replacing less than 10% with solid parapets
  • €20m of much needed investment in repair of historic Quay walls
  • Improved Public Realm spaces
  • Investment of up to €140m in the Scheme will incentivise future investment in the City and create significant local employment during construction
  • Adaptable as part of long-term climate change strategy
  • Maximises benefit of existing dams

Tidal Barrier:

  • Arup Engineering consultants estimate that it would cost at least €500m – costings being reviewed as part of the consultation process
  • A Tidal Barrier would only deal with tidal flooding and would not protect the City and upstream from fluvial (river) flooding
  • A Tidal Barrier would also require defence walls in the City
  • Significant environmental issues in harbour to be considered and shipping/port issues

Extensive Public Consultation so far:

  • Wide ranging consultation with statutory and non-statutory bodies since project inception
  • Public Information Days held in 2013 and 2014, with the emerging preferred options on display in 2014
  • 6-week Public Exhibition over Dec 2016 and Jan 2017 with Design Team attending on specific, well-advertised, days
  • Numerous presentations to TDs, Councillors, Business and other groups along with attendance at Public Forum, facilitated by the Lord Mayor

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