Campaigners opposed to the Office of Public Work’s €140 million flood defence plan for Cork have insisted that a tidal barrier can be built for €135m as part of their three-point plan to protect the city from flooding.
The Save Cork City group outlined their alternative proposals last night and insisted a tidal barrier, extensive quayside repair, and a raft of upstream measures to slow the flow of the River Lee are “right for Cork” from a cultural, heritage and economic point of view.
In what is the largest flood defence scheme in the history of the State, the OPW has proposed a combination of measures, including changes to the management of the Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid dams, and the construction of direct flood defences, including embankments on the Lee Fields, in Fitzgerald’s Park, as well as raised quay walls along the city centre’s northern river channel.
But in a detailed 56-page document entitled ‘Potential Cork’, the Save Cork City group said the raised quay walls “represent a final tipping point” in Cork’s future that would see much of the city’s character and potential lost forever.
The raised walls plan is unworkable, costly, 50 years out of date and not adequate to deal with climate change, and they warned it could interfere or interact in unknown ways with the groundwater in the city’s complex Lee ‘buried valley’ gravel aquifer.
They said most people who have seen the OPW’s walls plan would prefer a tidal barrier, and the campaigners said they have costed a 910-metre structure at Little Island for €135m, based on construction and maintenance costs over 50 years.
“A tidal barrier causes no disturbance to the current river landscape in the city or to the city economy during construction,” they said.
Once in place, the group said work could start on the repair and reinstatement of the quay walls — a “gentle intervention” that would reveal and…