Hi, there! — Welcome to the seventh issue of my monthly newsletter to keep you up to date on my work for Cork City North East.
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All the best!
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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 planned phasing of new bus routes for the city under BusConnects, including when the current 207 and 208 bus services are expected to be replaced and the expected beginning dates of new services to a) Banduff Road, b) Kilcully, and c) Kerry Pike?"
"To ask the Chief Executive the expected date the public will be able to use the new steps to North Docks from Lower Glanmire Road?"
"That Cork City Council supports an enterprise similar to the Rediscovery Centre in Dublin, which nurtures enterprises adopting the re-use of waste materials into the circular economy."
"That Cork City Council will report on the city's strategy to commission public murals, including how murals and artists are selected, how the city approaches property owners to place murals on their walls, and how property owners can offer walls for use for murals."
"That Cork City Council will report on the progress of its strategy to reduce dereliction, including the purchasing of derelict properties and the application of the Vacant Sites Levy and Derelict Sites Levy."
"That Cork City Council will report on its strategy to ensure community services are put in place alongside new housing developments in the Ballyvolane urban expansion area and other areas of the city, which are necessary for the fifteen-minute city concept, as envisioned by the Cork City Development Plan."
Glanmire sustainable transport plans
At the September meeting of Cork City Council, Phase 1 of a project to connect Glanmire village to Kent Station by fully a segregated pedestrian walkway and cycleway was agreed.
This section will connect Glanmire village to the Dunkettle roundabout and will include 70m of boardwalk over the Glashaboy River and the opening of a new public space in the village. Phase 2 will complete the route and is in design with Cork City Council. It is expected to be announced in 2023.
Separately, Cork County Council are working on pedestrian and cycle infrastructure in the Glounthaune/Little Island area. This is expected to be completed in 18 months. After that, a 500m section on the nearside of the motorway will remain unconnected while land acquisition takes place.
Over the immediate years ahead, approximately €50m in works will take place in Glanmire, delivering safe and segregated walking and cycling paths. These will connect communities within Glanmire as well as connecting Glanmire to Glounthaune/Little Island and directly to the city centre.
These projects are being delivered by Cork City Council using funding from the National Transport Authority, under my Green Party colleague, Eamon Ryan, as Minister for Transport.
A core part of this vision is for a greenway running from Glanmire village to Riverstown and Brooklodge. This will act as an active travel spine connecting communities in the Glanmire area, with an especial focus on safe travel to schools and local amenities.
In the meantime, work is underway on connecting Glanmire village to Woodville on the Dunkettle Road. Multiple teams are working simultaneously on this project. The entire project is expected to be ready in April or May 2023.
The first public round of consultation on public transport priority measures under BusConnects closed this week. I have been working closely with communities and residents groups preparing submissions. I have also been organising face-to-face meetings between residents groups and the National Transport Authority on the plans.
In my own submission, I gave my broad support for the proposals. The current draft plans are an initial starting point, which the NTA have presented to city councillors as lacking local feedback at this point.
I believe that as the proposals receive that feedback during this consultation, and if local communities can engage well on the issues involved, the plan will evolve into a set of designs that will benefit communities and businesses along these routes as well as public transport users across the city.
This year, public transport fares were reduced by 50% for young people and by 20% for all adults. New routes and increased frequency of services for Cork were announced in June and are due to begin from 2023.
These must be accompanied by very significant, ambitious and cohesive bus priority measures across the city to ensure the reliability of services. The reliability of public transport services is of paramount importance to public transport users.
As a city that has set ourselves the ambition to be climate neutral by 2030, this project is essential to us. This is supported by and is in addition to the legal obligations on the state to cut climate changing pollution in half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.
While climate change and biodiversity loss are the existential challenges of our generation, the benefits to meeting these challenges are also enormous. An affordable, well-serviced and punctual public transport system for the city is one of these.
Local Property Tax
The Local Property Tax rate for Cork City Council has been agreed to be kept the same in 2023 as it is in 2022. It was also agreed to freeze it at this rate for 2024 as well. This is recognising both the need to keep city services at a high level and also the effect of the cost-of-living crisis on households.
As you'll know, there is a base rate for LPT set by central government. Each local authority can vary this rate up or down by 15%. Last year, Cork City Council varied the rate upward by 9% (from 7.5%) and used this money to fund ward-level budgets.
At the LPT meeting last week, councillors agreed that that rate would be unchanged for 2023. The council also used a new provision in the law to freeze this for 2024 as well.
However, for many homeowners the increase in the variation (from 7.5% to 9%) between 2021 and 2022 actually represented a significant reduction in the amount they paid. This is because the base rate for LPT was re-evaluated by the central government over the same time.
For example, the average house in Cork is valued at €330,000. In 2021, the base rate for this house was €585. Under the new base rate, effective from 2022, it was re-evaluated to €315. So even with the 9% variation in 2022 (which is now unchanged for 2023 and 2024), the LPT due for the average house reduced by €285 between 2021 and 2022.
How the variation is spent is different from ward to ward depending on what the local councillors agree.
Like last year, the councillors in the North East ward collectively used this budget to fund a range of local investments. In other wards, this money was spent entirely on roads resurfacing.
In addition to roads, the budget here will be used to fund repairs to footpaths at Cahergal Estate, an upgraded pedestrian crossing at Riverstown, landscaping in Blackpool and traffic calming measures across the ward, including at St Luke's Cross.
Public lighting at the Tank Field and drinking water fountains in three local parks will also be funded. A small budget for small amenities has also been set aside. I believe this better reflects the needs of the whole ward.
In the news...
Cork City Council in recruitment drive for new 'green cities' jobs
New roles to strengthen bid to become one of Europe’s first climate-neutral cities by 2030
In an old quarry in St. Luke's, a community garden grows
St. Luke's community garden started in the pandemic. In less than two years it's transformed a place that was primarily used for dog fouling.
Councillors need to ease fears over BusConnects project, says Cork city councillor
Green Party councillor Oliver Moran said he has found the NTA to be open to engaging with and assuring communities about proposed plans, particularly in meetings with smaller groups.
Keep in touch
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Have a great month!