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Decision Over Running Track To Wait Until September

Writes Ciaran Dineen

At the final meeting of the Carrigaline LEA Municipal District (MD) before the summer break-up it was decided to postpone making a decision over the proposed running track until September.

It was announced at the previous MD meeting in June that plans had changed over the location of the running track. Originally Councillors had told the public that the track would be placed into Carrigaline Community Park, only to later find out that Cork County Council had had a change of plans, now deciding that the track would be placed along the start of the Carrigaline-Crosshaven walkway.

Last month frustrated Councillors questioned the decision and said that it would leave many people in Carrigaline upset given what was already promised. A report had indicated that a special surfaced track would replace the existing path in the park which loops around the pond and beyond. It would provide an opportunity for casual and beginner runners to train on a surface which is less damaging to users physically, compared to normal roads or footpaths. 

Providing Councillors with further evidence was Vincent Florish of Cork County Council last Monday afternoon. According to Mr. Florish a change to the location of the proposed track was made for a number of different reasons. One of these was that due to the many tight turns in the park there would be few straight stretches and would be very difficult for those who would like to sprint on the track.

Another key reason for the move was due to the other activity that takes place in the park. It was pointed out that the track would be damaged by wheel usage, such as buggies, wheelchairs and skateboards, and that due to the high cost of repairing the path it would not be feasible. 

Councillor Liam O’Connor (FG) asked whether the special surface itself could be scrapped and that instead that the money could be used for improving the existing path that already existed. In response Senior Executive Engineer Jim Molloy said that the grant received for the projects was for that specifically and that the money was not transferable.

Also commenting was Kevin O’Regan, who said that the whole concept of the track had come from the Carrigaline running club and that was the entire basis of the plan. He said that they were looking for a facility for people to be able to train on and while it was originally touted for the park, this was no longer viable.

Cllr O’Connor also asked about how long would the new path be and how far could it potentially be extended. Vincent Florish said that it would be 250 metres at a minimum and that it could be developed in the future up to 1 kilometre. 

Councillor Seámus McGrath (FF) expressed his disappointment, just as he did last month at the decision, however he respected the detailed answers provided, but said it was very “unfortunate”. Councillor Aidan Lombard (FG) was confused as to how the plan ever got to this stage if the path was never going to be suitable in the park in the first place.

The response given was that the proposal was mooted before the idea or development of the Skate Park and it is feared that those who use the amenity would also use the track and subsequently damage it. Councillor McGrath asked whether it was possible for a graphic of the running track to be designed on how it would look both in the park and along the Carrigaline-Crosshaven Road.

He also asked his fellow Councillors if they agreed with him that a decision should be postponed until September so further design information can be provided and allow for members to come to a more informed conclusion. This was supported by the rest of the Councillors in the chamber. 

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