AN exceptionally high spring tide meant that a newly installed pontoon ‘fell short’ of what was needed to cross a tidal stream leading to Barleycove Beach.
The pontoon – which was overturned and damaged by a tidal surge in mid-May – was reinstated last Wednesday.
But at 6pm the following evening, July 14th, the pontoon didn’t cross the full width of the stream and people had to wade through water the rest of the way.
With more spring tides due at the end of this month, county major Cllr Danny Collins said the local authority may have to consider extending the pontoon.
He said the Council will be increasing signage at the pontoon to make people aware of variable factors, such as high tides and strong winds, and he confirmed that engineers were on site on Friday morning to assess the situation.
The mayor is, however, of the opinion that the pontoon is ‘in the wrong place.’ He believes it should be moved further back from the beach.
He noted that it was the first time – to his knowledge – that the pontoon fell short of fulfilling its function.
‘Over the weekend, I got phone calls from people who were angry and frustrated,’ he said. ‘I can understand their frustration because the pontoon is vital for the area and a proper job must be done.’
On this occasion – around 6pm on Thursday – people were not stranded but they did get their feet wet crossing the last part of the stream, according to Cllr Caroline Cronin (FG).
Cllr Cronin who lives in the locality and was at Barleycove when it happened, said people were able to cross ‘by paddling a little bit.
‘It was not dangerous,’ she added. ‘Some people were saying it was 3ft of water but I was there myself and it was minimal.’
A spokesperson for Cork County Council confirmed that an improved anchoring system was designed and installed with the Council advising on safe operating parameters for the structure.
‘This will entail monitoring the wave height, wind speed and wind direction at higher tides and under certain conditions it will be necessary to close the structure,’ she said.
‘There is constant movement of sands and tides in all tidal areas,’ she added, ‘and as the pontoon is a temporary structure in a tidal area, persons using it will have to proceed with caution.’