ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE OVER CIVIC AMENITY SITES
The Fermoy and Mitchelstown members of the Northern committee were furious when the North Cork divisional manager, Tim Lucey, confirmed that no commitments could be given on civic amenity sites for Fermoy and Mitchelstown pending the outcome of a strategic review of spending on all waste management schemes.
Mr Lucey told members at this week’s area meeting that currently 81.7% of households were within 15 kilometres of a civic amenity site, and with increased re-cycling this would further alleviate waste management problems. He warned that with a steep demand for increased expenditure over the next 4 to 5 years a strategic review of the entire range of council services was demanded.
However, Cllr O’Flynn was outraged that plans for Fermoy and/or Mitchelstown civic amenity sites were being reviewed and deferred.
“This is devastating news. We need these civic amenity sites. We demand at least one site and I won’t leave the chamber today until I get an assurance on our civic amenity sites. We are the forgotten souls, we have been abandoned” the councillor exclaimed.
Cllr O’Flynn recalled that when Cork County Council brought in the pay-by-weight some years back part of the agreement was that they would put in place civic amenity sites.
He said, “Now they are pulling the rug from under the people of Fermoy and Mitchelstown. Earlier this year the standing charge for the pay-by-weight went from €1.25 up to €1.80 roughly an increase of fifty per cent, which was a savage increase. As one of the councillors who voted against it at the time, I was told that if we brought this in that the civic amenity sites will be coming down the road”.
“This is the worst news for the people of Mitchelstown and Fermoy area”.
Cllr O’Flynn continued, “The people of Fermoy and Mitchelstown and North Cork embraced the pay-by-weight, they played their part even though there was an increase. The councillors sold the scheme and again this year, despite the savage increase, it was clearly understood that there was an agreement that civic amenity sites would be put in place one in Fermoy and one in Mitchelstown".
“We have all North Cork now, one of the biggest areas, you could say from Kilbehenny up to Watergrasshill and from Tallow Bridge back to Castletownroche there’ll be no civic amenity site whatsoever. ”It’s not good for Cork County Council to change their plans mid-stream”.
Cllr Aileen Pyne expressed her utter shock at the announcement by the manager of the decision regarding civic amenity sites. Cllr Pyne recalled the December meeting of the Northern committee held in Fermoy when there were such great hopes for the town’s own civic amenity site.
“At that meeting it felt like the last decade of the Rosary, our prayers were about to be answered, but today I am utterly, utterly shocked by the revelation that everything is up for review. Effectively the next budget meeting won’t be until November and even then we have no guarantees, it’s pending the outcome of the strategic policy review. I want to add my voice of protest to that of Cllr O’Flynn and the other Fermoy and Mitchelstown members".
“Very disappointing” was the initial reaction of Cllr Liam O’Doherty to the announcement that plans were up for review.
“I suppose it’s another part of the budget restraints that are on Cork County Council. This is just another one of the effects it has on the area. One landowner willing to offer a site for a civic amenity site in the Mitchelstown area, whose name I had given to the council, claimed he had received a visit from a council representative, some photos were taken on site but, in the eighteen months since the visit, the landowner has heard nothing either way, I understand.”
“We are taken aback to-day to be told the whole lot is now put on the back burner, yet again. And, to be fair the manager’s hands are tied financially, but we are very disappointed from my point of view in the Mitchelstown area especially because we are just so far away from any of the proposed civic amenity sites that are going ahead at the moment, in Mallow and in Kanturk, and the ones in Macroom and Millstreet are up and running. We are thirty miles from Kanturk and 25 miles from Mallow.”
Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe shared the utter dismay of the other members from Mitchelstown and Fermoy at the announcement of a strategic review of the civic amenity sites. He put forward a suggestion that where Bring Sites existed these might be upgraded to civic amenity-type facilities. Cllr O’Keeffe suggested that the possibility of civic amenity sites being established through the agency of public/private joint enterprises might be considered and their potential further investigated.
“It is a bitter pill to be told at this stage that that all future plans would be driven by a strategic review centred on the actual costs of providing this type of service", Cllr O’Keeffe told the meeting.
The manager emphasised that there was no alternative to the council addressing the issue of the costs of providing the entire range of services within the local authority’s remit. He concluded, “The reality is that the council is restrained by budget parameters and the strategic review is necessary to obtain a clear picture of provision of services relative to costs and priorities”.
Thursday 24th April 7:00pm