PARKING has become a huge problem for parents seeking to access Dunmanway’s newly revamped playground.
Both Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) and Cllr Deirdre Kelly (FF) called for the barrier to the nearby pool car park to be raised, thereby making it accessible to everyone at all times.
‘It is ridiculous,’ said Cllr Hurley, ‘not allowing people to use the car park when it is empty.’
Cllr Declan Hurley tabled a motion at a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District calling for improvements to the road between the swimming pool and the playground. He said such measures are needed to make it safe for children.
The councillor also requested the installation of bollards to prevent people parking on the footpath and creating ‘blindspots’ for children on foot. He said the ready-made solution would be to allow people to use the pool car park even on days that the pool is closed.
But the Council’s senior executive officer MacDara O h-Icí overruled the suggestion.
According to Mr O h-Icí, the Department of Sport made it a condition that a certain number of spaces be reserved specifically for the pool and leisure centre.
‘That is why there are two separate car parks and why the barriers were put up on the first day,’ he said.
The officer said he was aware that the swimming pool usage had dropped off during the lockdown, but he expressed the hope that there will be a bigger demand in 2022.
Cllr Hurley said the best solution for everyone would be to open the underutilised car park and make it accessible to the playground users.
‘This is a busy road into a housing estate and safety should be a priority,’ he added.
Cllr Kelly agreed, saying: ‘parking has become a huge issue.’ She said the problem is particularly acute on Sundays and asked that the pool car park be opened on that day to create an overflow space for the playground.
Senior executive engineer John Ahern pointed out that the road is governed by a 30km/h speed limit, but he said the Council could apply for funding for a zebra crossing.
Cllr Hurley said proximity to the secondary school was another important consideration.
‘There was talk of a traffic survey being carried out on that road accessing the playground, pool and housing estate,’ he added, ‘whatever happened to that?’
Mr Ahern said the survey was not carried out because in the last year-and-a-half traffic flow could not be considered ‘normal.’