Hi, there! — Welcome to the ninth edition of my monthly newsletter to keep you up to date on my work for Cork City North East.
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Motions and notions
Every month, each councillor can submit up to four motions to Cork City Council and ask two formal questions to the Chief Executive. One of these questions is asked at the Local Area Committee and must be about local operational issues.
There won't be a meeting of the Local Area Committee this month because of Christmas, so I don't have a second question this time.
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/join
"To ask the Chief Executive: (a) the means of determining the priority of pedestrian crossings to be delivered in the North East ward in 2023 relative to other potential locations in the ward; (b) the scope and extents of these works (e.g. to support safe travel by foot to a pedestrian crossing at New Inn NS); (c) the public consultation process that will be involved (e.g. Section 38, Part VIII, etc.); and (d) if resource and other capacity limits will affect the timely delivery of pedestrian crossings at other locations in the ward in 2023 (e.g. Safe Routes to School at St Luke's Cross)?"
"That Cork City Council will pilot a shared electric bike scheme in a defined geographic area of the city not served by the TFI Bike Share scheme, such as the city's urban towns (i.e. Glanmire, Blarney, Tower, Ballincollig), or the Urban North area of the North East ward and the Victorian Quarter."
"That Cork City Council will implement the operation of a 'school street' on Wellington Road."
"That Cork City Council supports the provision of additional public transport services (e.g. increased number of commuter rail carriages, additional city bus services, etc.) and free public transport from the city centre to event venues (e.g. Páirc Uí Chaoimh) during high-attendance events; and will write to the National Transport Authority on the matter."
"That Cork City Council will report on the progress of engaging artists Daphne Wright and Johnny Hanrahan and the technical team who created the Listening Posts at Penrose Quay to assess the works needed to restore this public artwork; and on improvements to the public realm that could accompany the restoration of the artwork."
Update on BusConnects Cork
BusConnects Cork is the plan to upgrade the public transport system in Cork with new bus routes, public transport priority corridors, new ticketing arrangements and much more.
The BusConnects Cork team met with groups of city councillors last month, updating us on the progress of the overall project.
They confirmed to the Green Group that over 3,000 submissions were received during the first formal public consultation period on bus priority measures long twelve corridors in the city. They have met directly with 23 local residents and business groups, with 10 more scheduled and around 12 more in planning.
From my own experience, feedback from these local meetings between the BusConnects Cork team and residents groups are generally positive. They have moved discussion into a new constructive space.
Overall, the BusConnects Cork hope to meet with between 45–50 residents groups by early 2023, with follow-up meetings afterwards. In addition, they have met directly with over 100 property owners. Traffic surveys will also take place in 2023 to inform updated proposals.
The latest update is that revised proposals for bus priority measures are now expected in March 2023. It seems a dedicated effort to meet with residents and a more on-the-ground approach is paying off. I expect the plans to change significantly in some places, informed by local input.
Among the most exciting developments is that a Cork-based urban landscape designer has been contracted to develop high-quality public realm for four locations in particular. These are Blackpool, Douglas, St Luke's Cross and Dillon's Cross. That's a unique opportunity to revitalise key areas of the northside and leverage BusConnects Cork for urban regeneration.
In addition, the first zero emission buses will begin service in Cork in 2023 and 2024. The roll-out of new routes are now expected in 2024, rather than earlier in 2023, but it's hoped this can be accelerated. I'm also looking at other benefits that can come out of the project, like new public spaces and ensuring there is a percentage for the arts.
Cork City Council budget
In November, Cork City Council agreed its budget for the year ahead. Overall, I've welcome the budget this year, which I believe demonstrates the commitment of the city to investing in a progressive future for Cork.
This year's budget had the greatest consensus around it that I've seen since being elected. There will be increased spending in all services, but most notably in areas to do with climate action, biodiversity and housing.
The city will hire two Biodiversity Officers, a Climate Action Officer and an Ecologist. There will be a doubling of money being spent on the city's Climate Action Unit from a quarter of a million euro in 2022 to over half a million euro in 2023.
That's the unit that will be responsible for writing the city's local Climate Action Plan in 2023, which will set out how we are going to meet our national climate action obligations — as well as our commitment as an EU Mission City to be climate neutral by 2030.
Housing was a major part of the debate at the budget meeting. Capital spending on housing in 2023 is planned to be a quarter of a billion euro. As well as traditional social housing, that now also includes new housing options like affordable housing for first-time-buyers and cost-rental for renters not in social housing.
Residential Zoned Land Tax
The city is also undertaking work to get ready for the new Residential Zoned Land Tax. This will be a yearly tax on land that is zoned for housing, and might even have planning permission, but that is being sat on rather than being developed.
The new tax will begin from February 2024 and will be administered by the Revenue Commissioner. It will mean a yearly tax of 3% of the market value of undeveloped zoned residential land to be paid by the owner.
Lands included in the latest development plan and zoned as residential lands are proposed to be included in this tax. The intention is to encourage owners of zoned land to develop it for housing.
Owners of zoned land with no intention to develop in the near term (or who may have foresee difficulty in getting planning permission) may also request that the land is de-zoned. However, the decision to de-zone land will be solely the decision of Cork City Council.
A public consultation on areas to be included in the new Residential Zoned Land Tax is now open. More information on the Residential Zoned Land Tax, including the first payment date of February 2024, is on the Revenue Commissioners' website.
In the news...
TII seeks pause on moves to increase car parking in Cork city
Changes to Cork city’s car parking policy could encourage more dependency on the private car, Cllr Oliver Moran has warned.
City's solar bins 'working quite well'
The council’s director of operations, David Joyce informed Cllr Oliver Moran that 52 solar compacting bins were installed across the city.
'Everyone is laughing at it': Councillors call for greater enforcement of Cork city's 'Pana ban'
At a meeting of Cork City Council on this week, Green Party Cllr Oliver Moran said the enforcement must be stepped up.
Keep in touch
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Have a great month!