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Cork Independent

INDOpinion

Marina Park is shovel ready

Wednesday, 19th September, 2018 4:44pm

The development of Cork’s docklands has long been an aspiration.

The regeneration of the docklands is becoming a reality with ongoing developments but still requires development of infrastructure, homes and recreation space.

We recently heard of the plans of the ESB to relocate their Marina Power station.

This opens another large development opportunity in the south docklands. This advance is coming on the back of ongoing and soon to start office developments upstream with offices on Albert Quay for multi national Clearstream by O’Callaghan properties on the south side of the river as well as the HQ development on the Irish Rail Site on Horgan’s Quay and the John Cleary office campus on Penrose Quay which has just been granted planning permission by City Council.

These office developments are very welcome to accommodate employees, but these employees require somewhere to live.

As our city grows, we too need to grow by planning sustainable city suburbs. Tivoli docks, as well as the greater South Docklands, give Cork an opportunity to become a truly urban European city. Reading recent comments in the print media by the Chairman of The Port of Cork, John Mullins, it is very welcome that he and the Port are progressing plans to create a sustainable residential suburb in Tivoli.

It is most welcome that the Port are engaging with Irish Rail with a goal of including a rail station in the middle of the Tivoli site to allow future residents commute to the city centre by rail.

The commencement of the Tivoli development may be ten years away but the development of the South Docklands is much closer on the horizon.

The recent purchase of the Live at The Marquee site, the former Henry Ford & Sons distribution site, by Glenveagh Properties Plc for in excess of €15 million illustrates that ambitions to develop homes are in the now.

This site, coupled with the ESB site, as well as other new home plans in the South Docklands under discussion by City Council, show that a sustainable suburb in the South Docklands is now a reality.

I personally hope that the development of housing by home builders can become more realistic in the upcoming budget. I would urge the Government to reduce the VAT on housing in the budget to nine per cent for housing schemes which would be completed within a very specific time frame which would lead to much needed supply of homes.

For the South Docklands to kick on infrastructure and recreation development is required. In this light, I welcome the Urban Regeneration & Development Scheme which is part of Project Ireland 2040. In the past month I have tabled a motion to Cork City Council for the Marina Park project to be included by Cork City Council in our application for this fund. I do hope that my fellow councillors support my motion when it does come before council.

One of the key goals of this funding scheme is for central government to fund up to

75 per cent of an urban project that is likely to leverage significant further public and private sector investment.

The Urban Regeneration scheme, which will consider projects in excess of €2 million has €100 million available for shovel ready projects and will have €250 million available in 2019 as well as a further €750 million in 2022.

The Marina Park project is costed at €14 million and Cork City Council can allocate capital funds as well as €3 million already pre approved from the EU which makes this project very viable to receive funds from this scheme.

The development of Marina Park is shovel ready. It has received planning permission through the part eight process and it’s much anticipated commencement will be an impetus for home builders to commence building.

The revamp of the old showgrounds, the Atlantic pond, a vast green space as well as a play ground area and a site on the Marina for a multi use water sports centre, can really kick start residential development.

20,000 people are expected to live in the south docklands and Marina Park can make this a fantastic amenity for the new residents as well as those already living in the greater Blackrock Area.

Other infrastructural requirements such as a cross river bridge and roads will also be required and these should be funded by development levies as well as funding for transport infrastructure Ireland.

Well developed open public space is paramount to the development of a desirable , sustainable suburb in the docklands.

The foresight to acquire and plan Marina Park by Cork City Council is praiseworthy but the time has come to get this project built.

The success of the regeneration of Blackrock Village, which I am pleased to have championed, illustrates the benefits of urban regeneration.

There has been a substantial increase in activity in Blackrock with more and more recreational users exercising in the area. This further highlights the success of Cork’s healthy city initiatives.

The success of the Blackrock Village plaza regeneration has also further bonded the community with activities on the new plaza which are best illustrated by the recent Blackrock Village festival which saw thousands of people gather for a day of fantastic activities. Cork is in drastic need of new suburban communities for our growing population to live close to the City Centre.

The South Docklands has the space for homes to be built and a successfully funded and completed Marina Park can act as the impetus for other investment to take place and in turn create a thriving quarter for people to live, work and play by the Lee.

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