THE first step in ridding Bantry of the ‘scourge’ of flooding has taken place with the signing of a contract to design the multi-million euro flood relief scheme.
Minister of State at the Office of Public Works (OPW) Patrick O’Donovan TD oversaw the signing of the contract in the local Council offices last Thursday.
The signing marked the official appointment of JB Barry and Partners, in a joint venture with JBA Consulting, as engineering and environmental consultants to carry out the design of Bantry’s flood relief scheme.
During his visit, Minister O’Donovan also met with local business organisations, all of whom welcomed the signing of the design contract, but expressed their frustration with the length of time it takes to get a project of this size completed.
‘This is part of a planning process,’ said the minister. ‘Today is the start of that and we would ask the people of Bantry to engage with the consulting engineers and Cork County Council and become part of the process because their voices will be heard.’
Minister O’Donovan said the consulting engineers have been appointed by Cork County Council, and that the contract will be funded by the Office of Public Works.
He said the completed design will be submitted for planning permission and will ultimately result in a major flood relief scheme that would offer protection for 200 properties.
Danielle Delaney, chairperson of Bantry Business Association, said her members were delighted that the design contract had been signed and that the process is now ‘moving forward’.
However, she said, everyone would like the process to move faster. ‘We want to get this in place as quickly as possible for the benefit of the people who live and work here and for the business owners in particular,’ she said.
‘Every time there is a storm, we are waiting for the water to come in,’ she added. ‘We can’t keep doing that so we would like it to progress a little bit faster.’
Elaine Dempsey, general manager of the Maritime Hotel, agreed that businesses need to see it going ahead quickly. ‘It is vital to the town at this stage,’ she said, ‘we need to see action happening.’