THE proposed five-month closure of the Kent Street carpark in Clonakilty’s town centre is going to have a ‘detrimental’ impact on local business, a councillor has claimed.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) told The Southern Star he is ‘fully aware that the carpark is needed to provide access for the construction firm, Ward & Burke, to sheet pile the river.
However, he said the loss of 114 car parking spaces during the busy tourism season is too much to ask of the business community.
He said the local business owners are ‘proactive, but they have gone through a couple of years of the town being dug up and the loss of business is hurting their bottom line.’
Taking into consideration that there is both an entrance and an exit to the carpark, he asked Council officials to consider splitting the project in two.
He said his proposal would allow access and parking at the eastern side while the western side is closed for sheet piling during the months of May and June.
Cllr O’Sullivan said phase two, the eastern side of the library, could then be completed during the months of July, August and September.
‘There would still be a loss, but at least we would have access and it would take the pressure off the businesses who rely on this carpark,’ he said.
‘It’s just too simplistic for the Office of Public Works and Ward & Burke to say they can’t come up with a solution.’
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) believes ‘this is going to cause major disruption in the centre of the town.’ He suggested that a ‘park ‘n ride’ from the showgrounds on the by-pass road should be put in place to complement the parking available at Deasy’s carpark.
Both councillors praised the staff at Clonakilty Community College who have decided to park on the tennis courts to free up parking around the school.
Kevin Morey, the county engineer, pointed out that the road opening application hasn’t been decided yet, but ‘practically speaking, the method of working has been set out in the contract.’
He said: ‘The machinery and set up is quite substantial and requires a bit of a work area, and I would anticipate that if were to divide it into two, it would impact the flow and efficiency of the work and the timescale.’
Mr Morey was also of the opinion that access to either side of the carpark is very restricted and would present ‘a serious safety concern.’ Nevertheless, he said he would ask the roads department to take a look at the proposal.