Hi, there! — Welcome to the eighth issue of my monthly newsletter to keep you up to date on my work for Cork City North East.
Let me know if you are enjoying these — or if you have ideas for what you would like to see in them.
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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.
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 to report on the operation of the new solar compacting bins in the city, including messaging when the bins are full, how this is operationalised by staff, and data collected on which streets generate the most binned litter?"
I will submit a question to the Local Area Committee this month nearer to the time of that meeting.
"That Cork City Council will report on ways for the city to promote and celebrate the new Brigid's Day public holiday (i.e. the first Monday of February each year, beginning 6 February 2023), especially as the first public holiday in Ireland to celebrate a woman."
"That Cork City Council will apply for a Ville à Vélo du Tour de France rating, having hosted the Tour de France in 1998."
"That Cork City Council will report on the operation of the My Open Library service in Douglas and extend the service to an appropriate location on the north side of the city, such as Blackpool Library or Frank O'Connor Library in Mayfield, and in the city centre at the main City Library."
"That Cork City Council supports the provision of an adequately sheltered bus stop for southbound public transport users at St Luke's Cross; and will write to the National Transport Authority on this matter."
Cork has been selected among nine towns and cities to pilot new Night-Time Advisors, known informally as "Night Mayors".
The new position was a recommendation of the national Nighttime Economy Taskforce. The taskforce recommended that Cork be highlighted in particular with a focus on delivering an authentic local food experience as part of the nighttime economy. The expansion of the evening offerings at the Crawford Art Gallery and the piloting of a local food festival, 'Cork on a Fork', were both recommendations made by the taskforce.
The appointment of a Night-Time Economy Advisor is envisioned to be something akin to a 'Night Mayor' in other jurisdictions. The person will act as a central point of expertise and information on the Night-Time Economy in the city. They will help pull the pieces of the jigsaw together and create alliances between the city and other stakeholders.
Only this month, councillors in the North East ward received a briefing from the Victorian Quarter around MacCurtain Street on their new strategic plan. The new advisor role will be able to support businesses and traders in realising the kind of vision for the city that the VQ and other partnerships have given.
The report also recommended that the city would establish supporting structures for the advisor, including a Night-Time Economy Committee. That committee should have diverse and inclusive input, including from the nighttime trade, young people and city residents.
In September, Cork was awarded the Purple Flag, which recognises the quality of the nighttime economy already in the city. Work is ongoing through the City Centre Partnership and the City Centre Forum to continue to improve the nighttime experience. The new advisor will be an opportunity to further enhance and support those relationships and to build upon that work already being done.
Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Kilkenny, Sligo, Longford, Drogheda and Buncrana were chosen to pilot Nighttime Economy Advisors too. Also announced last month are proposals to reform the licencing laws, with pub licences lasting until 2:30am and nightclubs until 6:00am, which would replace the current system of special exemption orders.
Glanmire pathfinder project
Last month, Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, launched the Pathfinder Programme of 35 national exemplars of sustainable transport projects. Phase 2 of the Glanmire to city centre pedestrian/cycleway will be included in this programme.
Cork City Council agreed Phase 1 of connecting Glanmire to the city centre by segregated pedestrian and cycleway in September. Phase 2, which will connect Cork city centre to the Dunkettle roundabout and onwards to Midleton, Youghal and Waterford, was included in the national programme. This means the project will now be accelerated to be delivered by 2025.
The project will connect Cork city centre to the Dunkettle roundabout, where it will connect with Glanmire and continue to Glounthaune, Little Island, Midleton, Youghal, Dungarvan and Waterford by a continuous pedestrian and cycle route.
This project is a real exemplar of what can be achieved. Glanmire is a major new community that came into the city in 2019. It's a great place to live but very car dependent. Connecting it to the city with safe segregated pedestrian and cycleway along a flat route will be transformative for students, commuters and anyone socialising in the city.
Moreover, Little Island is the largest business district in Cork, with nearly over 1,000 companies and 18,000 daily employees and visitors. This project has huge potential to show how Cork can transform its transport system to make our own mini-Holland right here on our doorstep.
Including this route among the national pathfinder programme means we can deliver once-in-a-generation change, showing the best-in-class ideas that can be replicated elsewhere. In means that by 2025, the Kent Station—Glanmire—Glounthaune—Little Island route will be in action and connected all the way to Midleton, Youghal, Dungarvan and Waterford.
New green staff hired
Cork City Council has been selected among 10 local authorities to receive government-funded biodiversity officers this year.
The new government-funded position in the city will be in addition to a position already agreed to be funded by the city itself. It will mean that Cork City Council will have the benefit of two Biodiversity Officers in 2023.
The new roles will mean Biodiversity Officers will now be employed in both the Operations and the Strategic Planning directorates of Cork City Council.
The two new Biodiversity Officers will play two very different but complimentary roles. One will be wellies-on-the-ground, working with staff and communities on biodiveristy operations. The other will be policy-based and work on the city's biodiveristy strategy and long-term planning.
At the October meeting of Cork City Council, it was confirmed that 14 out of 23 new positions in the city's Active Travel Office have already been filled. These positions include Senior Engineers, Project Managers and Surveyors. The remaining posts are in the process of recruitment and will be filled over the next three to four months. Other roles being hired for include a Climate Action Officer, Active Travel Officer and an Executive Landscape Architect.
An Ecologist is also being hired in the Community, Culture and Placemaking directorate.
These positions reflect the immediate need for expertise and change on climate and biodiversity in the city. At October's meeting of the Climate Action Committee, councillors were told that work on the local Climate Action Plan is expected to begin before the end of the year. That will start a 12-month process to agree how the city will meet its climate obligations across all sectors.
Something that before seemed distant and abstract is now going to become much more immediate and real in people's lives. We will need to agree the measures we're going to take to severely reduce our impact on the climate and broader environment. That's going to take expertise of all kinds and that's now being reflected in these new hires.
In the news...
Consultation begins for proposed pedestrian safety scheme in heavily populated Cork city area
Kilcully and Ballincrokig Residents’ Association chairwoman Joan Sutton said the works are “very much needed” given traffic levels in Kilcully.
1,000 Corkonians join in Clean Air Together testing project
Clean Air Together involves members of the public and the business community measuring Cork’s air quality
Chaos In Cork As heavy Rain Causes Widespread Flooding
Described as a 'perfect storm', heavy rain caused widespread spot flooding across Cork city centre and suburbs on Sunday evening.
Keep in touch
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Have a great month!