PROVISIONAL plans for possible greenway routes between Skibbereen and a number of towns were unveiled last week.
After consultants AECOM-ROD Alliance were announced as technical advisors to Cork County Council for all of the routes, it was also announced that a feasibility study of several walking routes to and from Baltimore, Schull, and Drimoleague, will form part of the West Cork Greenways Project.
Skibbereen-based Cllr Joe Carroll gave the proposal a guarded welcome. ‘Greenways are a wonderful idea and should be welcomed, but we shouldn’t get away from our priorities – a proper road network, and a proper road to Baltimore,’ he said.
Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said the West Cork project – which is expected to cost €3.8m – will boost tourism.
‘Of course, we must invest in improving West Cork roads also, but it doesn’t have to be one or the other,’ he said.
Over the next five years, the project will be progressed through various stages including feasibility, route selection, public consultations, and ultimately the statutory process. The first of the public consultation processes will take place in the new year. And, over time, there will be public consultations in relation to route options and the emerging preferred route.
All stages of the project will be subject to continued funding from Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the route development and land acquisition will be in accordance with the Greenways code of best practice, according to a Council spokesperson.
Council acting chief executive Valerie O’Sullivan said the project presents a unique opportunity to develop safe and attractive greenways in West Cork. She said the project will provide a more cost-effective alternative to the private car for commuting and it has the potential to attract domestic and international visitors to come, explore, and stay in this extraordinarily scenic and much-loved region.
A month ago, a €2.6m contract was signed for the design of the Cork to Kinsale Greenway.