BANTRY’S recent public participation day was a data-gathering exercise to shape and inform a new flood relief scheme that is needed to protect 200 properties in the town.
The event, which attracted widespread public interest, is the next step in devising a multi-million flood relief plan, similar to the projects already completed in Skibbereen, Clonakilty and Bandon.
The appointment, last February, of JB Barry and Partners, in a joint venture with JBA Consulting, as engineering and environmental consultants, to design the Bantry Flood Relief Scheme, was considered to be a major step forward.
The consultant project managers, as well as the Council’s project manager Catherine Murphy, met the public to listen to their flood experiences, concerns and suggestions, last week. Some interim flood relief measures have already been carried out, including the installation last April of non-return valves and the provision of two high-powered pumps to clear Wolfe Tone Square of surface water when it floods.
Catherine Murphy said a rain gauge was installed last year and, two weeks ago, a new tidal gauge was installed – both of which will provide important information to the consultants.
Extensive examinations of the town’s subterranean drains, its culverts, have also been carried out and the improvement of these is likely to be a key element of the new flood relief plan.
Cork County Council has also written to home and business owners asking them if they would consider installing flood barriers at their doors – the cost of which is expected to be paid for by the Office of Public Works under a minor works scheme.
Ross Kinsella, project manager for JB Barry & Partners, gave two detailed presentations and, together with Council and OPW personnel, spent several hours listening to and answering questions raised by locals.
Those unable to attend can still fill out a questionnaire, which is available at Áras Beanntraí. The consultants asked that they be returned to Bantry Flood Relief Scheme, JBA Consulting, Unit 24 Grove Island, Corbally, Limerick before May 25th.
Information posters and the questionnaire will also be available on the project website www.bantryfrs.ie. And people can contact the project managers by emailing [email protected].
Ross Kinsella said Wednesday’s event was the first of three public consultation days – the second is due to take place in January, when there will be more concrete proposals for people to consider.
In a slide demonstration, he showed the type of works being considered such as flood embankments, flood walls, culvert replacement and upsizing, raised road and footpath levels, a diversion channel, dredging, nature-based solutions such as changes in forestry, agriculture and land management practice, storage areas, individual property protection and a pumping station for surface water.
The area for consideration in the scheme is expected to focus on the tidal and river flooding at the harbour and Wolfe Tone Square, the Mill River and Alley River and the Scart stream, as well as areas of Lahadane, Caherdaniel and Millbrook outside the town centre.
Prior to the public participation day – at a meeting of the Western Division of Cork County Council – the county engineer Kevin Morey paid tribute to Kevin Costello on the occasion of his retirement, saying he had been instrumental in delivering major flood relief schemes in Skibbereen, Clonakilty and Bandon.
He said Kevin Costello had also been very involved in working on developing the proposed Bantry project. All of the councillors and the divisional county manager Clodagh Henehan spoke of Kevin Costello’s commitment and dedication. In addition to his conscientious dedication to his work, they said he was, at all times, a gentleman to deal with.