By Martin Walsh and Jackie Keogh
AFTER years of promises, the Courtmacsherry-Timoleague Sewerage Scheme is officially underway after Minister for State, Jim Daly turned the sod for the €10m project.
When finished by the end of this year, it’s expected it will bring significant environmental, health and economic benefits to the area and also provide a platform for future growth.
The official function took place in glorious sunshine with Minister Daly remarking: ‘With tourism and water- based activities playing such a crucial role in all aspects of life in this area, the importance of providing effective treatment of wastewater cannot be overstated, both for those who live and work here and for the many visitors to this most scenic part of West Cork.’
For some 20 years the Courtmacsherry Development Association has, both publicly and privately, lobbied officials and politicians. Its sub-committee even visited Leinster House to plead for the delivery of the long-awaited project which is finally being delivered by Galway-based company Glan Agua in a joint venture with MEIC. Works will include the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant at Courtmacsherry, a new pumping station at Timoleague, and the associated sewer network, upgrade works to two existing pumping stations at Courtmacsherry, and the decommissioning and demolition of the existing septic tank in Courtmacsherry.
While there will be disruption, particularly in terms of traffic, it will be kept to a minimum. Works will be suspended for the duration of both the Courtmacsherry Harbour Festival and the Timoleague Harvest Festival.
Stephen Finn, chairperson of the Courtmacsherry Development Association, described it as a ‘red-letter day for the area.’
The new scheme also plans to upgrade the water network between Timoleague and Courtmacsherry. The completion of the scheme is also set to improve the quality of the bathing waters in Coolmaine and marks an overall investment of €25m.
At a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District in the Courtmacsherry Hotel, Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG) said the investment would bring enormous benefits to the two resorts.
He said the start of the waste water infrastructure works is ‘proof positive’ of the State’s commitment to the area. But he said there were other encouraging signs of development too including an investment of €5m by Barryroe Co-op and Staunton Foods in a new treatment plant and a new grain store in Timoleague.