Cork Chamber President, Joe Gantly, has expressed concern that, unless a number of strategic issues are dealt with before the adoption of the Local Area Plan for Cork South Docklands, the progress made in advancing the redevelopment could potentially be delayed.
The call came in a Chamber submission to Cork City Council regarding their consultation on the South Docklands Local Area Plan.
According to Mr. Gantly - "By virtue of the complex issues to be addressed, it is the Chamber's view that a strongly-chaired and resourced Implementation Body - with the full co-operation and commitment of central government, the City Council and all relevant stakeholders - is needed to deliver the Local Area Plan. This will ensure Government commitment and add a sound basis for prioritising various aspects of the critical docklands redevelopment.
"We are now at the beginning of a crucial time period. The development of the docklands is fundamental to the aggressive economic development of Cork. We see the Local Area Plan and the accompanying Business and Implementation Plan as critical documents that underpin the timely delivery of a substantial area of new residential, commercial, infrastructure and public realm development. This will serve to crystallise the function of Cork as a modern gateway city well into the future" - he added.
In order for the Local Area Plan to come to fruition, a number of key factors need to be prioritised - including the relocation of the Port of Cork, provision of key infrastructure, including bridges and public transport and the relocation of the Seveso sites.
"However, development can only occur if financial incentives are put in place. Therefore, the Chamber urges government to provide for tax relief and public funding to facilitate the development."
Mr. Gantly went on to say - "Of primary importance is the relocation of the Port of Cork, which is absolutely fundamental to the delivery of the Local Area Plan. The Chamber urges the Port of Cork - as a key stakeholder - to continue their full engagement in the process."
The Chamber President concluded by saying - "There should be a degree of flexibility built into the Local Area Plan, pending the outcome of the Business and Implementation Plan process. This should result in an agreed balance between the requirements of the built environment and the economic and social needs of the area."