23 August 2018
By Elaine Murphy
The Green Party in Cork has called on Cork city and county councils to invest in youth services in Glanmire and a rapid-transit system between Ballincollig and the city among a series of measures to integrate new suburbs into the expanded Cork city boundary.
The party says a number of specific funding streams are available to the city and county, including €2 billion of funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, which closes on 28 September. The party is also supporting efforts by the city and county mayors who are looking for a stimulus package for Cork to accompany the boundary expansion next year.
Speaking this morning the party’s representative in Cork North Central, Oliver Moran, said:
“The areas coming into the city have very unique needs to do with the problem of urban sprawl that have to be overcome. In Ballincollig, the needs are to connect the suburb with the city. There is a realistic plan for connecting Mahon and Ballincollig with a bus rapid transit system. The potential for this was raised in National Development Plan earlier this year. The city should now pounce while this funding is available.”
“Belfast will be opening their first bus rapid transit system in September, comprising of three lines at a cost of €110 million. The argument that Cork is too small is no longer there. We need to be thinking of ourselves at a far more ambitious scale that is realistic for our status as a second city.”
Mr Moran said social problems associated with urban sprawl also needs to be tackled in the new city areas:
“In places like Glanmire, the effects of poorly planned urban sprawl are much more entrenched. As well as transport problems, they include the need to develop a town centre and provide community and recreational activities for young people. This is having an social cost, with older people telling me of their difficulties in getting to the shops and obvious signs of frustration by younger people with few outlets, such vandalism of playgrounds in John O’Callaghan’s Park.”
“The 2014 county development plan identified both the lack of non-sporting recreational facilities and the need to develop a genuine town centre as needs in Glanmire. Cork City Council will need to prioritise following through on providing this when Glanmire is taken into the city in 2019. The funding here is an opportunity now to do that, potentially as part of an wide-ranging project to tackle the problems of urban sprawl in Cork.”
The party also called for a footbridge over the Southern Ring Road to give access to Tramore Valley Park to residents in Grange as part of the integration measures.