Cork City Council_Our City is Changing Report_28pp AW WEB

OUR CITY IS CHANGING

Cork City Council

CONTENTS

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2 3 4 7 9

Taking action on climate change 

Welcome: Lord Mayor of Cork 

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Protecting Cork from flooding 

Foreword: Chief Executive 

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Creating a greener, healthier city

Changing the way we travel 

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Festivals and events: 2024

Innovating to find housing solutions

How Cork City Council supports you

A new era for Cork Docklands

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Meet your councillors 

Creating quality streetscapes

CLLR. KIERAN MCCARTHY Lord Mayor of Cork

WELCOME

This ‘Our City is Changing’ information booklet is being delivered to homes and businesses to give a better understanding of the exciting future that is being planned for our historic city by the Lee. Up to €2.5 billion is being invested in Cork over the next five years with significant investment in housing, sustainable transport, parks, public spaces and climate resilience. This forms part of a wider €10 billion investment pipeline over the next 10 years. This unprecedented investment in our city is about ensuring that as our city’s population increases, our quality of life does not suffer but rather is enhanced for current and future generations. On the night that I was elected Lord Mayor of Cork, I spoke of how we must never take our democracy for granted and how the citizens and communities must be ‘front and centre’ of our priorities as Elected Members of Cork City Council. These priorities include delivering substantial quantities of social and affordable housing, tackling homelessness, increasing our sustainable transport options, supporting the offering in the city centre, creating new amenities and ensuring that our city is ‘future-proofed’ by being more sustainable and healthier in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Healthy Cities movement.

I hope this booklet helps to bring our changing city to life and that you, as people who live and work in the city, will feel excited, better informed and better equipped to engage around the many transformative projects that are being planned and delivered for our communities. Our ambition is to have a city with top-class public transport, a vibrant city centre, a greener city with safe, new and attractive amenities, a much improved public realm, and a city that is easier to get around on foot or by bike.

Is mise le meas, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy Lord Mayor of Cork

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ANN DOHERTY Chief Executive, Cork City Council

CHANGE, CONNECT, THRIVE Perhaps as never before, the prospect now exists to secure Cork’s future as a resilient, successful, sustainable and attractive city of scale with new opportunities and a top-class quality of life for all those living and working here.

Cork creating approximately 47,000 jobs. In recent months, the Financial Times ranked Cork number one small European city for FDI strategy. But our city will not be spared the realities of climate change – flooding, extreme weather and the accompanying negative economic and social impacts. We have choices to make. Do we continue as is, ignoring what is coming down the tracks, or make changes, some small, some bigger, so we continue to have a city where people want to work, want to live, to invest in and will be future-proofed? Yes, the transition will be challenging at times. The seriousness of what we face is based on evidence, recognised in national legislation and in the city’s Climate Action Plan supported unanimously by the elected members of Council. This isn’t something abstract but ultimately is about people: where they live, their health and wellbeing, physical, financial and environmental. The principal change to the city will be in the scale of infrastructure-led development meaning residents and communities can live close to public transport, to walking and cycling links and have ready access to work, education, amenities and facilities. If there was never a climate emergency, all of these changes would make sense as they allow us to live easier and healthier lives. Survey after survey point to a public appetite for more reliable, affordable public transport, more open space, more pedestrianisation and car free areas. So much of the work undertaken by Cork City Councillors and staff is planning and implementing a pathway to delivering on those wishes. But our staff and Elected Members cannot deliver the necessary changes on their own. Cork City Council controls many of the levers but not all. What is required is collaborative, informed interests working together. But the prize is huge and worth pursuing.

Most certainly, our city is changing; very significantly. Major, transformative initiatives in public transport, residential development, amenity and recreation, public realm and climate action are taking place. The scale of those changes and their positive impacts are reflected in this information booklet. These changes are not just desirable in their own right but necessary for the proper operation and growth of a city that has expanded five-fold since the boundary extension in 2019. Cork now embraces many new areas and new communities. It’s also projected that we will be adding about 150,000 people to our population – a 50% increase – by 2040, a very short period in the life of any city. There is no denying that Cork, like other cities, faces serious challenges such as how to rapidly increase housing supply, deliver regular and reliable public transport and ensure the city centre continues to thrive. But our expanding city also presents huge opportunities; to capitalise on being a city of scale by attracting larger inflows of foreign direct and indigenous investment, to be a resilient city in the face of climate change, to create more opportunities for people living here and to generate more resources to invest in the city’s communities and social, sporting and cultural life. That ambition for Cork is shared by Government and State agencies in a way not previously seen. Cork is now firmly embedded in national strategic policy as the “growth city” in the country. National policy recognises that of all cities outside Dublin, Cork has the greatest capacity to sustainably scale up to absorb population growth and leverage opportunity. Crucially, this government ambition is supported by substantial exchequer funding. Cork is not starting from a low base either. Post-Brexit, Cork city is the European Union’s second largest English-speaking city. 194 multinationals operate in

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1 . CHANGING THE WAY WE TRAVEL

Amongst the most visible and progressive signs of change in the city are public transport, walking and cycling facilities. The delivery of more sustainable and alternative transport options will ensure that Cork City can continue to function properly and avoid increasing congestion.

According to a Behaviour and Attitudes survey conducted last year:

recognise that traffic congestion will decrease if there is continued investment in a more regular and reliable bus service. 63% fully acknowledge that investment in cycling and walking infrastructure will enable healthier and more active lifestyles.

NEARLY OF CORK PEOPLE

The National Transport Authority-led, BusConnects Cork project will transform the public transport network in Cork, with new bus routes and improved bus frequencies meaning a more regular and reliable bus service. The roll-out of the new network under BusConnects Cork is scheduled to commence next year.

WHAT BUSCONNECTS MEANS

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53% OVERALL INCREASE in bus services

24 HOUR bus services

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BUS SERVICES

ALL-DAY high frequency (every 15mins) bus routes

for unserved areas: Upper Glanmire, Waterfall & Kerry Pike

SHORTER WAIT TIMES

SIMPLER NETWORK & schedules

ADDITIONAL bus services

& more direct routes

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Strategic Improvements In Road Network An efficient and uncongested road network is a vital component in sustaining economic growth. The redeveloped Dunkettle Interchange by Transport Infrastructure Ireland has delivered 18 new road links, totalling 10km in length.

2.9km

of new walkways and cycleways form part of the Dunkettle scheme.

Cork County Council is due to go to tender later this year on principal works on the M28 motorway link to Ringaskiddy which is key to fully unlocking the potential of Cork Docklands. The N/M20 motorway link from Cork to Limerick is progressing through the design process. A new Northern Distributor Road and an outer Northern Ring Road for Cork City, which will alleviate traffic congestion and improve connectivity across the entire network are also in the early planning and design stages. At a local level, cycle and pedestrian improvements are progressing at various locations across the City including Donnybrook , Innishmore , Glanmire and Mahon improving safety for all road users. Major road improvements are also planned for areas such as Lehenaghmore and Ballyvolane with related land acquisition currently underway.

MACCURTAIN STREET RENEWAL AT A GLANCE

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New Cycle Lanes 1.6km

Upgraded Public Realm 12,500m 2

30,000m 2

Upgraded Pedestrian Crossings

New Bus Stops

Resurfaced Roadways

The MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme, which includes the city quays and adjoining streets, was completed in November 2023 and has delivered on Cork City Council’s goal to enhance access to the city centre. At the end of 2023, Cork City Council also delivered the Grange to Tramore Valley Park pedestrian and cycle bridge and pathway which opened up connectivity between Grange, Douglas and the city centre. The scheme gives residents, students and commuters the option to safely walk, wheel or cycle into the city reducing congestion and provides a beautiful, wooded leisure amenity.

Up to 24km new/upgraded cycling infrastructure has been completed between 2020-2023. A further 10km of cycle infrastructure is currently under construction ( Mahon, Glanmire, Marina, Ballybrack, Ballincollig ) with a programme of other schemes due to enter construction over the next year. Construction has begun on the 5.6km Mahon Street Renewal Scheme , Cork’s first community-wide streetscape renewal programme aimed at providing safer and healthier streets with better pedestrian and cycle links to schools, shops, sports and leisure facilities. The scheme extends along Ringmahon Road, Skehard Road, Avenue de Rennes, Ballinure Avenue/The Maples and Castle Road.

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Rail Links Cork City centre is set to become increasingly connected with its suburbs and hinterland towns via rail. The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) plans for new and improved rail connections from Kent Station to the northern and eastern parts of the wider Cork area, including Blackpool, Tivoli, Dunkettle, Monard, Blarney, Ballynoe, Carrigtwohill and Water Rock and increased services to Mallow, Midleton and Cobh. As part of a €185 million investment in the rail network, Iarnród Éireann has commenced works on a new platform in Kent Station that will allow high-frequency commuter trains to run directly from Mallow through the city to Midleton or Cobh, so that passengers will not have to change platform if they wish to travel onward from the city. Other elements include upgrade of signalisation to increase frequency and new tracks to Midleton. The development of a light rail system (tram) over the period to 2040 is a major objective of CMATS.

will run from Mahon Point in the east of the city and on to Ballincollig in the west, with 25 stops including Kent Station.

This interconnected transport network will allow passengers to change between tram, rail and bus services when travelling to city centre and suburban destinations. Route selection is now underway in advance of planning and detailed design. While the project is progressing the corridor will benefit from a new frequent 24 hour bus service.

“I was one of three local residents, along with Brendan Kelleher and Ger Lehane, who worked with local Councillors and council officials with the idea of creating a major public amenity by connecting Grange to Tramore Valley Park via a pathway and pedestrian/cycle bridge. Now, I walk from Grange Road to Douglas Community School 4 -5 times a week. I really enjoy seeing, and listening to, the sound of the stream in Vernon Mount Valley. I also no longer have to drive to Tramore Valley Park for my exercise. You can tell by the smiles on people’s faces and direct feedback to us that they are enjoying the quality and experience of this wonderful facility. What has been delivered has exceeded our expectations”. TONY FOY Grange Frankfield Partnership (GFP) describes how the Vernon Mount Bridge and Walkway transformed his area.

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INNOVATING TO FIND HOUSING SOLUTIONS 2 .

The Land Development Agency (LDA) is also redeveloping the lands at St Kevin’s Hospital in Shanakiel to develop 226 social, affordable and private homes on this 14-acre site on the northern banks of the River Lee. Hundreds of cost rental homes will be delivered in Cork Docklands, on Horgan’s Quay, while Blackrock Villas in Blackrock Village is also being developed with the support of the Government’s Croí Cónaithe initiative. The wider Cork Docklands has the capacity to deliver homes for 20,000 people – growing the heart of the city. 5,000 2022-2026 HOMES

is being spent on housing delivery from 2022-2026 ¤1.9billion

Increasing housing supply is one of Cork City Council’s top priorities. The current Cork City Development Plan will support the development of 20,000 homes. Cork’s planning policy is centred around locating housing close to public transport infrastructure and services. Blackpool, Ballyvolane, Ballincollig, Glanmire, Grange and Blarney have been identified as strategic areas for growth in the city. As the planning authority, Cork City Council guides the location, amount and type of development in the city by making decisions on planning applications. This includes private housing, its own social housing programme and purpose-built student accommodation, which is seen as key to freeing up supply in the wider private rental sector. Cork City Council has exceeded government targets for social home delivery in recent years and supported the delivery of affordable, cost rental and right sizing homes with approved housing bodies like Tuath, Clúid and Respond. Cork City Council has also been a national leader in how it has developed infill sites across the city and is at the forefront of the delivery of right sizing options for older persons, with the ongoing development of age-friendly housing schemes. In addition, the Cork City Northwest Quarter Regeneration scheme in Knocknaheeny will deliver over 650 new homes in the lifetime of the programme, including new streets, squares, parks, community facilities and a full programme of social, economic and environmental initiatives.

social and affordable homes are on course to be delivered by Cork City Council and partners from 2022-2026

Affordable housing schemes have been delivered in Bishopstown, Montenotte, Mayfield and Tower . Cost rental schemes have been delivered on Western Road and in Glanmire while rightsizing schemes have been developed in Blackrock, Bishopstown and Douglas .

Rightsizing development at Springville House, Blackrock.

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DEIRDRE CAREY

RICHARD DOWLING & AMY MARAH

Deirdre Carey felt she was just working to pay her rent before she was selected for Cork’s first cost rental scheme at Lancaster Gate in the city centre. “I genuinely didn’t know such a scheme existed until I read an article about it in the ‘Irish Examiner’ and showed it to my friend. Then I suddenly thought ‘why am I not applying myself?’.” Working in hospital administration, she filled out the eligibility forms and was one of the 73 people who were selected from an audited random selection Now renting a two-bedroom apartment, she pays €561 rent every fortnight (45% below current local rental rates) and that includes waste collection and bike storage. The Western Road premises is managed by Clúid, whom she can’t speak highly enough of. “Genuinely, any issue that I’ve had, they’ve addressed it”.

After being repeatedly outbid in their attempts to buy a first home, Richard Dowling and Amy Marah had resigned themselves to another bout of ‘hardcore saving’ when friends mentioned that a new development near Amy’s family home included an affordable housing scheme in association with Cork City Council. Some online research on corkcity.ie revealed the two 31-year-olds met the eligibility criteria and in January 2023, the engineer and dental receptionist applied - via an online portal - for homes at Crann Darach, Montenotte. A month later they were informed they were successful and last October, they were handed keys to an A-rated new three bed semi-detached home. “We love the house. It’s toasty thanks to air to water heating and has amazing views of Blackrock Castle, Passage West and Cobh. Also, we both work in town and can walk to work in half an hour. We’d really encourage people to look out for affordable housing schemes as they’re a brilliant opportunity to get your first home in a very difficult housing market”.

“You couldn’t get a better location. I can walk to Fitzgerald’s Park, to the English Market, to Marina Market. You really couldn’t fault this place, she said.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

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3 . A NEW ERA FOR CORK DOCKLANDS

Current render of the planned development at Kennedy Quay in Cork’s South Docklands.

Spanning the North and South Docklands from the Lower Glanmire road to Blackrock Marina, the Cork Docklands project will grow the heart of Cork City and provide homes for 22,500 residents and up to 25,000 jobs in a location where all amenities and services are easily accessible and car dependency is greatly reduced. Active streets, community infrastructure, sports facilities and new schools will enable vibrant communities and families to thrive.

infrastructure will transform the Docklands from an underutilised area of Cork City to a place of choice to live, work and invest. The Cork Docklands Delivery Office has been jointly established as a partnership between Cork City Council and the Land Development Agency to advance the development of Cork Docklands. It co-ordinates the overall implementation strategy and maps out programmes for investment in enabling infrastructure, housing, public transport, health, education, culture, tourism and community.

will be created in the area for the community as a result of this expansion.

Cork Docklands is Ireland’s largest and most ambitious regeneration project.

The regeneration is underway, supported by the Government of Ireland, under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF). A proposed €500m+ investment in enabling

“From the age of 17, for near on 30 years, I worked on and off at the docks. Every morning, we’d walk down to the ‘corner’ or the ‘store’ as it was later known and stand for work with the foremen picking out who they wanted. It was bloody hard and often dirty, dusty work, sometimes unloading 300 or 400 tonnes of butter or digging out coal but with a bucket, but it was one of the best jobs in the city at the time. There were 600 or 700 dockers working down there at one stage and so many characters. Everyone had a nickname. There was Timmy Tan, the Gentleman Docker, the Donkeys Ears, to name a few. I made friends for life. With all the planned redevelopment, one of my aims now is to make sure that us dockers are recognised in some way. When we saw the plans for Kennedy Quay, we were blown away. We thought it was outstanding especially the Odlums building as that red brick is iconic. You can’t stand in the way of progress but we need something down there to remember all the former workers. It was a way of life that’s gone now and that deserves recognition”

LIAM CORCORAN

former Cork Docker, says the future Cork Docklands workers will shape the city like their predecessors did.

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THE FACTS: DOCKLANDS

infrastructure funding allocated ¤471m

jobs to date 6,000

private investment to date ¤500m+

residents 25,000

3,000 housing units planning approved

sports grounds 5.5 ha

new schools 6

quayside amenities 9.7 ha

marina park 28.3 ha

Heritage The Docklands already has a strong identity and has played a key role in the evolution of our city. Reflecting its maritime and industrial heritage in the architecture and public realm is a fundamental principle of the master planning strategy. A strong link with the past will provide an anchor for new communities. Community and Culture The Cork Docklands Framework Masterplan, which is currently being finalised, involved consultation with community groups, businesses and local residents to inform its development.

Current render of proposed public realm and quayside at Horgan’s Quay in Cork’s North Docklands.

has been allocated to community spaces

that will include libraries, primary healthcare facilities, crèches and childcare facilities, youth centres, community makerspaces and creative studios. The opportunity for larger scale arts, culture and tourism infrastructure is also being actively explored. River and Amenity Over 30% of the Cork Docklands area has been allocated to parks, public space, playing pitches and recreational facilities that will promote active and healthy lifestyles. Access to the river is to be retained, increased, and improved upon with over 5km of quayside for the residents of Cork City to enjoy. Phase two of Marina Park is already underway.

Current render of proposed public realm at Kennedy Quay in Cork’s South Docklands.

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Transport and Travel New infrastructure that prioritises pedestrians and cyclists will enable this vision for a vibrant, healthy and easily accessible district.

new city docks bridges

will provide connectivity between the North and South Docks, and Tivoli Docks. The pedestrianisation of the city quays and the enhancement of the existing road network will allow wider connectivity, enabling 80% of journeys to be made by walking, cycling and public transport. The investment by Iarnród Éireann in Kent Station and the Cork Commuter Rail network will enable Kent Station to act as a transport hub with the enhanced Cork Suburban Rail Network, InterCity services, BusConnects services and the Light Rail corridor. For more information, project updates and latest news on the Cork Docklands visit www.corkdocklands.com

When completed, the 28ha park will be six times larger than Fitzgerald’s Park. The upgrading of the much-loved Marina Promenade is also underway. The integration of the Promenade with Marina Park and the City Centre-Passage West Greenway will benefit communities across the city. Jobs Several industry leaders have already located to the Docklands attracted by Cork skilled workforce, the quality of sustainable office space, its riverside location and the proximity to transport links. There are already c.6,000 jobs located in the Docklands area and this is expected to rise to a total of 25,000. Sustainability, Energy Management and Climate Resilience The Cork Docklands project team is currently developing an energy masterplan to assess the opportunities for onsite renewable energy solutions. Sustainable infrastructure that enhances and protects will consider the heritage of the site, its physical characteristics and the influence of future climate change by integrating flood risk measures into the overall landscape design. Marina Park has successfully integrated nature based drainage solutions to improve biodiversity and help preserve ecological habitats.

Current render of Marina Park phase two.

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CREATING QUALITY STREETSCAPES 4 .

BISHOP LUCEY PARK RENEWAL AT A GLANCE

A number of exciting public realm projects will make Cork City centre more attractive for recreation, business and cultural activity.

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Grand Parade Quarter and New City Library

The historic city wall will be made a focal point

investment in the Grand Parade Quarter will rejuvenate the area

A new pavilion and plaza to stage events

by upgrading the public realm around South Main Street, Tobin Street, Tuckey Street, Frenche’s Quay, Crosses Green, Wandesford Quay, and Proby’s Quay. It includes improved access to Bishop Lucey Park, Elizabeth Fort, St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral and the planned Events Centre on the site of the former Beamish & Crawford Brewery. A central element of the redevelopment of the Grand Parade Quarter is a new purpose- designed city library that will facilitate up to

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Improved access and seating

A new tower to mark the Western Entrance

Planning has started on the library, which will be delivered in the medium term Works are underway on the revitalisation of Bishop Lucey Park which will open up the park to Grand Parade and South Main Street , providing a safer and more attractive place for people to meet.

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Current render of planned public realm upgrades as part of the Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Protection Scheme.

EVANNE O’CAOIMH Owner, Unbound, Bridge Street describes how the MacCurtain Street

upgrade has benefitted customers and business.

“Before the MacCurtain Street project, we found it difficult with access because we had only steps at the bottom of the street. The pavement was also narrow and uneven. So for any customers with a wheelchair or buggy, it was practically impossible to get to us.

I’m delighted the paths are now wider and safer. We have better access, new street lights and the trees are just beautiful - it just makes the whole place that bit softer. And then there’s the new bus stop outside as well, that helps the whole area.

I felt like I had a chance to input into the project. There was always a point of contact both from the street and from the Council and foremen. There were a couple of times I put through an email and instantly got a reply. They set up a meeting for me and were open about the situation. I think the whole area looks more finished and welcoming, but I also like that the whole community came together through this. I think that’s been a great experience! I got to know so many people. Yes it was tough while the roadworks were going on but we are out the other side of it, it’s great, we’re delighted”.

Current renders of planned Bishop Lucey Park and Grand Parade Quarter public realm upgrades.

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Morrison’s Island The Morrison’s Island Public Realm and Flood Protection Scheme, one of the most significant city centre improvement projects, is to commence construction in the summer of this year. The regeneration of the Morrison’s Island quayside and surrounding areas will be transformational. What is now predominantly a car park will become a public amenity. The incorporation of a safe south facing riverside walkway and cycleway, the restoration of the many heritage assets along this length of the Morrison’s Island quayside and the opening up of river access points will mean river views and usage will be significantly improved. All this is good news for the many who use the quay on a daily basis including Cork School of Music, Cork College of Further Education and Training and the planned Cork University Business School (CUBS) campus. The approach to the regeneration has been informed by a clear strategy supported by conservation experts. Existing features of architectural and heritage interest have been neglected or overlooked through the years. These elements of cultural heritage interest will be restored and will become key features of the area. The existing cut limestone quay walls are an important part of the city’s heritage. No removal of the existing quay walls in Morrison’s Island is proposed. Fr. Matthew Quay and Morrison’s Quay are to be cleaned, repointed and grouted in order to ensure their future stability and integrity. River views and access along Morrison’s Island will be significantly enhanced by removing perpendicular parking and constructing a new riverside pedestrian and cycling corridor, and reopening a number of access points which have been closed for decades.

A new boardwalk is being created on Union Quay, a new viewing platform is being created at Parnell Plaza and the approaches to Trinity Bridge are being enhanced.

MORRISON’S ISLAND SCHEME AT A GLANCE

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Full renewal of public realm on Morrison’s Quay and Fr. Matthew Quay

New pedestrian and cycling corridor

New street furniture throughout the scheme

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New Boardwalk on Union Quay

Quayside heritage interpretation information

New Viewing platform and plaza at Parnell Bridge

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Refurbishment of historic features including cast iron quayside bollards, cast iron lamp standards and mooring rings

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New public lighting throughout and undergrounding of overhead cables

The Morrison’s Island Scheme also includes integrated flood defences which will provide much needed flood protection to a large area within the city centre which suffers from frequent tidal flooding.

city centre properties will be protected against a one in 100 year tidal flood event, by this scheme.

Current render of planned public realm upgrades at Morrisons’s Island.

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5 .

TAKING ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Local authorities are at the forefront of climate action in Ireland. They help make the national climate goals and policies work at a local level to assist in the delivery of the national climate objectives. Cork City Council has put a specialised team in place to coordinate the development of its Climate Action Plan (CAP) and this team will be responsible for supporting its implementation and monitoring its impact.

THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL

Cork as an EU Mission City Cork is one of 100 cities selected from over 300 applicants to be part of the European Union’s (EU) Climate Neutral and Smart Cities mission.

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1100

million tonnes of Greenhouse gases emitted every year in the city

people consulted

The objective of Mission Cities is to achieve

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86 % of people agree that the city must transform into a more sustainable place to live and work

climate-neutral and smart EU cities

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different research reports from which our plan is based

and to ensure these cities act as testbeds for innovation in climate action, enabling all European cities to follow suit by 2050. This new status places us at the heart of the urban sustainability agenda by giving us the opportunity to work collaboratively with our partners throughout Europe. Five Themes The specific climate actions in our CAP have been informed by baseline research and extensive stakeholder engagement. While the actions are climate focused, they have many additional social, environmental, economic and health benefits. To see the full list of actions included in the CAP visit https://www.corkcity.ie/ en/climate-action/

themes and 129 actions

CLIMATE ACTION PLAN THEMES 1 Governance and Leadership 5 3 4 Transport and Mobility Natural Environment and Resource Management 2 Communities and Partnership

Built Environment and Energy

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What the CAP means for Cork City The CAP will put us on a path to achieving our vision of a climate neutral, resilient, just, healthy and thriving community. The Community Climate Action Fund Cork City Council is promoting real change through the Cork City Community Climate Action Fund. Funded by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), it will soon provide:

to enable community organisations, local sporting groups, community gardens etc.

to enact climate action projects.

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CLARE MCCUTCHEON outlines how her community

FRANK FITZGERALD

discusses internal actions in Cork City Council and how infrastructural change is making walking and cycling easier and safer.

sustainability journey transformed her home life too.

An active member of ‘Faith in Action’ at Ballineaspaig Parish, Dennehy’s Cross, Clare’s community group picked up an Eco-Congregation Ireland Gold award last year after years of raising environmental awareness, fundraising for the developing world, promotion of Fairtrade, establishment of a wildflower garden and promoting composting and recycling initiatives. Clare openly admits that as her interest in community climate action grew, she started making changes at home so she could ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’. She and her husband initially upgraded their Bishopstown home with the installation of thermostatic radiator valves, then an upgraded boiler and the introduction of heating zones. Attic and wall insulation upgrades were next on their wish list. In January 2023, with the help of another Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) grant, they installed solar panels, bringing their house up to a B1 BER rating, above the target threshold for the SEAI. “Since the completion of the solar panel installation, we have seen a drastic reduction in our electricity bills, despite changing to a fully electric car in May 2023. So much so that between the energy credits and microgeneration of the panels themselves, our total electricity cost for the past year came to only €122!”.

As the Sustainable Travel and Road Safety Officer in Cork City Council, Frank Fitzgerald has witnessed first-hand the changes in attitudes to transport, both within the local authority and from the city’s residents. “In the past five years we have seen a major change in the Cork landscape, with the pedestrianisation of streets, more cycling infrastructure, and greater investment in public transport. This has led to more people walking and cycling but also an increase in the numbers using public transport”. Internally, Cork City Council is facilitating change through initiatives like an electric bike share scheme for staff to travel to meetings and outside appointments. The scheme has been well received by staff. As Frank highlights, internal actions are only a minor strand in the promotion of active travel. “The Cycle Right programme is providing subsidised cycle training to schools in Cork. Bike Week is an annual event with over 100 activities taking place last year. Active travel is not limited to cycling and we have promoted walking through our Walking Week Festival, exhibiting the walkability of our city centre. In 2023, we had our first Car Free Day in the city centre, not only promoting active travel but resulting in significant air quality improvement”. Facilitating change and adaptation amongst the public and business community is something Frank and Cork City Council are focusing on. “Improvements in infrastructure coupled with improvements in technology, such as electric and cargo bicycles, mean cycling in the city has never been more accessible”.

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6 . PROTECTING CORK FROM FLOODING

Cork’s history of serious and sometimes devastating flooding is well known to all who live and work in the city. Over many years, its most dramatic impacts have been felt in the city centre but on regular occasions, householders and businesses in suburbs such as Douglas, Togher, Blackpool and Glanmire have suffered serious damage and distress. In the past two years, the Office of Public Works (OPW), in partnership with Cork City and County Councils, has completed the Douglas and Togher Flood Protection schemes resulting in the protection of hundreds of homes and businesses. The Douglas Flood Relief Scheme provides protection to 130 properties. It includes measures along the Ballybrack and Grange Streams, including direct defences such as flood walls, embankments and the replacement of river crossings. The scheme’s design has successfully integrated flood relief works with public realm enhancement works. These have seen improvements to Douglas Community Park with new pathways, planting and seating and the creation of a public plaza on Church Street in Douglas. Prior to the Togher scheme approximately 100 properties were vulnerable to flooding from the Tramore River. The main works comprised construction of a new 675m long culvert (as replacement for an existing undercapacity culvert), a new entrance trash screen, retaining walls and a significant public realm upgrade. Both the Togher and Douglas schemes have been very effective in fulfilling their role of flood protection. They were most recently tested during Storm Babet in October 2023, when the community was protected from a 100-year flood event. The major Glashaboy Flood Relief Scheme, which is currently under construction, will provide flood protection to over a hundred residential and business properties in the Riverstown/Glanmire area. The Blackpool Scheme and the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS), are currently at the design/ planning stage by OPW.

The LLFRS is designed to resolve Cork’s flooding issues through the largest State investment in flood defence ever undertaken in the country. The scheme will provide protection for circa 2,100 properties. It is anticipated that the scheme will be submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform for approval in mid 2025 with phased tender/construction to be progressed following approval.

DENISE DIGNAM Director of Douglas Community Association describes how the Douglas Flood Relief Scheme has been embraced by the local community.

“We see it from the much higher numbers visiting the park who really enjoy seeing and listening to the waters now. That is a big plus but obviously flood protection of houses and businesses in Douglas is the most important aspect. Even though we have had really bad weather events including Storm Babet in recent months, we haven’t had flooding from my experience. Water came up to very high levels in the stream but was contained and quickly went down again. Everything seemed to work and the scheme is a welcome and important addition to the local infrastructure.”

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CREATING A GREENER, HEALTHIER CITY 7 .

Green spaces are vitally important in cities: promoting physical and mental health, biodiversity and providing places to exercise, relax, hold community events and connect to nature. Cork City Council is continually exploring opportunities to further increase the provision of green space within the city and is currently working on a number of park projects which will hugely benefit quality of life across the city. Phase two of Marina Park is under construction and will extend from the Atlantic Pond to Church Avenue in Blackrock . It will include a “nature” zone accommodating picnic areas, adventure play areas, a preserved marshland and several architectural heritage sites. When completed it will be six times the area of Fitzgerald’s Park. In Hollyhill, a 100ha site is earmarked for the creation of a new regional park. Cork City Council has appointed a design team to develop an overall plan for this new facility. This new regional park will create green linkages between the city and its hinterland, complementing biodiversity and providing important economic, leisure, health and environmental benefits to the northwest of the city. The masterplan will include active and passive recreational areas with interconnected spaces including parkland, natural green spaces, ecosystems and greenways. In Blarney , preliminary designs are being prepared to develop Inch Park and to integrate it with planned new pedestrian/cycle facilities in the area.

Cork City Council’s Parks department is supporting climate and biodiversity by:

1 2 3 4 6 7 5

Electrification of its fleet and equipment

Banning herbicides

Increased tree planting

Installation of bird & bat boxes & bee & bug hotels

A more sustainable approach to grassland management

Providing natural habitat and wildlife corridors

Planting to reflect the four seasons

21

Cork City Council manages over 607ha of green space including: 29 ha 38 24 wildflower meadows Parks Playgrounds

100 Planters around Cork City

137 individual allotment spaces

including 5 Green Flag Parks

As well as managing green spaces, Cork City Council works closely with schools and community groups, supporting and advising on local initiatives. They provide materials and manpower to projects like community gardens, educational initiatives, Tidy Towns and Men’s Sheds.

“I contacted Green Spaces for Health, who gave me lots of advice and put me in touch with Health Action Zone, the nearby Glen Community Garden and Cork City Council. We had the support of the Parks Department and local Councillors and despite some challenges, the site was made available to us in early 2021. The Parks Department workforce cut the grass and did the initial tidy up, ready for us to take delivery of planters and crops for planting - all donated by Cork Health Action Zone. Since then, Cork City Council has cleared an overgrown area where we’ve planted a native hedge, they dispose of the litter we collect and they have provided a storage unit for all our tools. Three years on, the community enjoys a bounty of fruit and vegetables. We have planted an apple orchard, a pear tree and will soon be adding a plum tree. Our herb garden is full of fragrance and the wildlife is thriving in this biodiverse habitat. We have 45 WhatsApp group members, with 20 regularly volunteering in the garden. A project like this is not all plain sailing and there are challenges along the way but keeping the faith and persevering are essential for success. This garden has brought so much joy and I am honoured to be part of such a powerful transformative process. It’s a win for the community and the wildlife too.”

CARLA PITTAM

on how she helped create a community garden in St. Lukes’s.

Carla Pittam, a native of Rome, has literally put down roots in Cork. She lives in St. Luke’s with her husband and son but it was memories of her grandmother’s garden and a simple desire to grow a few lettuce leaves for her family, that led her to spearhead the drive for a community garden. “Initially, I wanted to take an allotment but the waiting list was 2-3 years. I walked my dog around the St. Luke’s area and was aware of this piece of land. While it was littered and unkempt it had glorious views over the city and that is when I had a lightbulb moment.”

22

TIPS FROM OUR TREE OFFICER Thomas Kane, on tree planting at home.

Sports Grounds including Mahon Golf Course

13

cemeteries

1

Consider the conditions Soil conditions and available sunlight must be taken into account when choosing where to plant. Species for the climate Choose species that are well-adapted to the local climate, soil, and moisture conditions. Right tree - right place Make sure you have enough space to accommodate the mature size of the tree without causing conflicts with buildings, power lines, or other infrastructure. Sourcing Ensure plants have been appropriately sourced and are not a biosecurity concern.

TIPS FROM OUR BIODIVERSITY OFFICER

3 2

Rosemarie McDonald, on how to promote biodiversity at home.

1

Don’t mow, let it grow This allows wildflowers to establish within a meadow and provides more food for pollinators. Nectar and pollen rich plants Choose nectar and pollen rich plants to use in planters and have flowers blooming from March to October, to provide all year food for pollinators. Pollinator friendly plants include: Salvia, Lavender, Rudbeckia and Hellebore.

2

4

3

Avoid using pesticides Use more sustainable methods to weed such as bark mulch and manual removal of weeds. Nesting opportunities Create nesting opportunities for pollinators such as installing bee hotels.

4 5

Native flowering hedgerow Plant a native flowering hedgerow using species such as Hazel, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Elder, Spindle, Guelder Rose and Willow.

23

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS: 2024

JUNE

APRIL

1-10

Cork Harbour Festival https://corkharbourfestival.com

10-17

Cork Lifelong Learning Festival https://corklearningcity.ie/lifelong-learning-festival Cork World Book Festival https://www.corkcitylibraries.ie/en/what-s-on/cork- world-book-fest/ Cork International Choral Festival www.corkchoral.ie Bike Week https://www.transportforireland.ie/getting-around/ by-bicycle/bikeweek/

2

Cork City Marathon www.corkcity.ie/en/cork-city-marathon-2024

23-28

8

Ocean To City https://oceantocity.com/the-race

MAY

1-5

TBC

Cork Carnival of Science www.corkcity.ie/en/cork-carnival-of-science Cork Midsummer Festival www.corkmidsummer.com Cruinniú na nÓg https://cruinniu.creativeireland.gov.ie

11-19

13-23

15

13-19

LGBTI + Inter-Agency Awareness Week www.corkcity.ie

23

Nonfire Night www.corkcity.ie

13-18

Cork International Poetry Festival www.corkpoetryfest.net

JULY

17-26

Biodiversity Week www.corkcity.ie Africa Day www.linktr.ee/africadaycork

15-19

Summer Sing! www.summersing.ie

25

11-19

Cork Cycling Festival https://corkcyclingfestival.com/ Mother Jones Festival https://motherjonescork.com/

27-31

Traveller Pride www.corkcity.ie

25-27

TBC

Cork Craft Month www.corkcraftanddesign.com/corkcraftmonth

24

AUGUST

OCTOBER

29-1

3-6

Cork Puppetry Festival www.corkpuppetryfestival.ie

Cork International Folk Festival www.corkfolkfestival.com IndieCork Film Festival https://indiecork.com Cork International Short Story Festival www.corkshortstory.net/ Guinness Cork Jazz Festival https://guinnesscorkjazz.com

30-6

6-13

Cork Pride Festival https://corkpride.com

14-18

TBC

Cork On A Fork www.corkcity.ie/en/cork-on-a-fork-fest Cork Heritage Open Day www.corkcity.ie/en/cork-heritage-open-day Heritage Week www.corkcity.ie/en/cork-heritage-open-day /heritage-week/

17

24-28

17-24

31

Dragon of Shandon www.dragonofshandon.com/

SEPTEMBER

NOVEMBER

15-24

Pitch’d Circus Festival www.pitchdfestival.ie/programme

7-17

Cork International Film Festival https://corkfilmfest.org

20

Culture Night https://culturenight.ie

DECEMBER

TBC

O’Bhéal Winter Warmer www.obheal.ie/blog/winter-warmer-poetry-festival

TBC

Corkmas - Christmas in Cork www.corkcity.ie/en/a-cork-christmas-celebration

CUT OUT THIS CALENDAR and pop it somewhere to look back on later...

25

HOW CORK CITY COUNCIL SUPPORTS YOU Last year Cork City Council provided over 1,000 services to residents, communities and business including:

RESIDENTS

864,335 VISITS TO THE CITY’S 10 LIBRARIES and mobile library 584 SOCIAL and AFFORDABLE homes constructed in 2023

10,900 HOMES

CALL OUTS by Cork City Fire Brigade 600

IN OUR HOUSING STOCK

104,783 PEOPLE USED

PUBLIC LIGHTS WITH 58% LED 25,400

THE PARK AND RIDE

85% SUMMER Approx

APPROX 10,000m 2

OF ROAD RESURFACED 25.64km

PARKS MAINTAINED 38

INCREASE since 2020 55%

FOOTPATH REPAIRED

PLANTING of pollinator friendly species

COMMUNITIES

BUSINESSES

80% OF THE CITY’S RATE PAYERS AVAIL OF A RATES REFUND SCHEME UP TO

250

24 PLAYGROUNDS

1,283 TONNES OF ILLEGAL DUMPING REMOVED TONNES OF LITTER CLEANED FROM STREETS 11 OUTDOOR GYMS 1,991

PEOPLE ATTENDED ONLINE BUSINESS ADVICE CLINICS

14

1,531

155 AVAILED OF LEO MENTORING SERVICES

MULTI USE GAMES AREAS (MUGAS)

ATTENDED LOCAL ENTERPRISE OFFICE (LEO) PROGRAMMES

APPROX. 723 COMMUNITY GROUPS SUPPORTED

21

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS SUPPORTED IN THE STUDENT ENTERPRISE PROGRAMME

TREES PLANTED Since 2021 8k+

26

MEET YOUR COUNCILLORS

CORK CITY NORTH-WEST

CORK CITY NORTH-EAST

Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald FF

Cllr. Mick Nugent SF

Cllr. John Sheehan FF

Cllr. Kenneth O’Flynn Ind.

Cllr. John Maher Lab.

Cllr. Ted Tynan WP

Cllr. Kenneth Collins SF

Cllr. Damien Boylan FG

Cllr. Brian McCarthy SOL-PBP

Cllr. Joe Kavanagh FG

Cllr. Oliver Moran GP

Cllr. Ger Keohane Ind.

CORK CITY SOUTH-WEST

Cllr. Fergal Dennehy FF

Cllr. Derry Canty FG

Cllr. Colette Finn GP

CORK CITY SOUTH-EAST

Cllr. Colm Kelleher FF

Cllr. Garret Kelleher FG

Cllr. Thomas Moloney Ind.

Cllr. Orla O’Leary SF

Cllr. Des Cahill FG

Cllr. Lorna Bogue Ind.

Cllr. Mary Rose Desmond FF

CORK CITY SOUTH-CENTRAL

Cllr. Kieran McCarthy Ind.

Cllr. Terry Shannon FF

Cllr. Deirdre Forde FG

Cllr. Mick Finn Ind.

Cllr. Dan Boyle GP

Cllr. Sean Martin FF

Cllr. Shane O’Callaghan FG

Cllr. Fiona Kerins SF

Cllr. Paudie Dineen Ind.

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Front and back cover image by Dennis Horgan Aerial Photography

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE IN THE UPCOMING LOCAL ELECTIONS THIS JUNE

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