Hi, there! — Welcome to the seventeenth edition of my monthly newsletter to keep you up to date on my work for Cork City North East.
This month I’ve included updates on new housing developments in Ballyvolane, action being taken on derelict sites, and information for residents groups and local organisations to access small funds from Cork City Council.
Please make sure to share this newsletter with your friends and neighbours in the ward. If there’s anything you want to get in touch about, or if you have any feedback or thoughts on issues in the ward, always feel welcome to email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
p.s. You can use this link to easily share this newsletter with your friends and neighbours in the ward ... oliver.ie/newsletter
Motions and notions
There will be no ordinary meeting of Cork City Council in August because of Summer recess — but there are special meetings dealing with specific topics like new busking bye-laws and other proposals.
I still wanted to include this section to the monthly newsletter to say thank you to the wonderful members of the Cork North City Greens. The group have produced brilliant ideas for motions to Cork City Council, as well as many thought-provoking questions, over the past year. 👏👏
Every month, each councillor can submit up to four motions to Cork City Council and ask two formal questions of the Chief Executive. Before the deadline each month, I meet with my local group, the Cork City North Greens and we agree motions and questions for the month ahead. We call this our “motions and notions” meeting :-)
If you have ideas or suggestions for a motion, or have a question you want asked, just let me know!
Or join the Cork City North Greens ... my.greenparty.ie
New housing for Ballyvolane
I attended a sod-turning event in Ballyvolane this month for the start of 750 new houses, with my Green Party colleague, Cllr Dan Boyle, representing the city by deputising for the Lord Mayor.
What’s different about this development is that the infrastructure and services are going in first. The development is master-planned by one company with state financing for services and infrastructure repaid with each unit sold. The construction will be carried out by individual builders.
The intention is that this frees up delays when construction happens. It also means being able to move ahead with new services like water and transport upgrades. In this case, it includes active travel measures like footpaths and cycle lanes connecting with the city’s own Ballyvolane scheme, which is awaiting CPOs from An Bord Pleanála.
While the housing development will be private, it’s the state element that enables it through this new mechanism of financing services and infrastructure.
Overall, the state is driving new housing in the city. In the last year, there were 1,215 new houses completed by Cork City Council, and there are 1,401 more under construction, with 413 again in planning or at tender. The city is starting to purchase derelict private properties too to turn them around for housing.
Updated derelict sites register
The former Keating’s building on Ballyhooly Road will be added to the derelict sites register after I reported it to Cork City Council. It will now be subject to an annual 7% levy until restored from dereliction.
All-in-all Cork City Council would prefer for a property to be brought out of dereliction than to be collecting levies on it. However, the levy provides a financial stick that the city can use to that end.
The effort it takes to pursue derelict properties is more than might be expected (e.g. identifying owners and overcoming legal barriers). To date a problem has been resourcing the doing of that. However, a new team is now in place specifically to identify and turn around derelict properties and that’s why there’s movement like this now.
The city has been allocated funding for 15–20 compulsory purchases of derelict buildings.
There’s also been a small number of non-compulsory purchases come through in the last year. In those cases, the city has sold the buildings to new owners with conditions that it must be brought out of dereliction within a fixed period. Properties on Cornmarket Street and Barrack Street are being turned around like this.
Another route is that the city provides funding to an Approved Housing Body, who purchases the property and turns it around. This is happening with a derelict property on Gardiner’s Hill.
The above is mainly for housing but the problem also exists, like in the case of the former Keating’s building, for commercial sites too.
Apply for ward funds
This month I dropped into the YMCA on Marlboro Street to see how they have been using small funds from Cork City Council to buy equipment for a Monday night open mic for youths.
If you’re involved in any kind of community organisation, you’ll know how important small amounts of funding can be in supporting local voluntary work.
For that reason, Cork City Council operates as system of locally allocated “ward funds”. These are administered by individual councillors up to a value of €500 for each group in every calendar year.
In the interest of fairness in allocating these funds, I make allocations throughout the year for specific community-based projects.
So far this year, I’ve been able to allocate funds to residents associations for tree planting and hanging baskets, to schools for visits to Leinster House and to buy litter pickers, to support community initiatives and cultural events for marginalised groups, and lots more.
Community and other groups can apply for ward funds for specific capital projects (e.g. planting, materials, equipment, etc.) or publicly accessible events using this online form: https://oliver.ie/wardfunds
I've made a decision to target ward funds towards capital projects and public events in the ward (as opposed to on-going costs, like insurance and grass cutting). This is in order to maximise the benefit of the funds in supporting specific projects that organisations undertake.
Please note there are restrictions on the application of ward funds to organisations outside of the North East ward. If you have any questions, please just ask and I will be happy to answer.
In the news…
Green Party councillor Oliver Moran has called for draft library by-laws to be placed before the council for adoption at its next meeting.
Echo, Tuesday, 1 August
Updated road law regulations for e-scooters and e-bikes will allay concerns, says Cork city councillor
Cllr Oliver Moran said: “The types of vehicles we see on our streets are changing. This law clarifies things and brings us in line with the European norm.”
Echo, Sunday, 16 July
Councillors vote to dispose of 54sqm of the park, a move that ensures “a glorified boys’ club can have a bigger clubhouse” as one councillor put it.
Irish Examiner, Monday, 10 July
Keep in touch
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Have a great month!
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