Excitement Emerges Following Harbour Ferry Project
Writes Ciaran Dineen
Plans are soon set to be lodged to local authorities in relation to a €15m commuter and tourist ferry network in Cork Harbour. The development of the project, if granted, will create up to 70 jobs. The application comes from a group of private investors, who would like the service to be operational by next year, with the commuter service launching sometime in 2022.
The new service would serve communities all along the harbour, including Crosshaven, Cobh, Monkstown and Passage West. Over the years there have been suggestions that facilities such as water-taxis should be made available in the harbour area in order to reduce traffic on roads. However, the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy, which launched last year highlighting future proposals for transport in Cork by 2040, made no reference to the concept of water transport.
There are even plans to have a docking location at the rear of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, to bring passengers to and from sporting and concert events. Adian Coffey, who leads the investors, Harbour Cat Ferries, said they intend to build pontoons in those areas to serve passengers and to purchase four 35m-long Catamarans, Enviro-Cat 35s, which will bring people around the harbour.
“The Enviro-Cat 35s were developed in Australia for operation in environmentally sensitive areas. They are slim, of double-hull designed, with water jet propulsion to give a smooth ride, with very low wake or disturbance to the river and harbour bed,” Mr Coffery said.
He said the ferries have a top speed of 25 knots and would be able to bring commuters from Crosshaven and Aghada into the city centre within 45 minutes. Cobh would be just 25 minutes away. The Harbour Cat Ferries plan was initially lodged in 2007 and full planning permission was granted for the commuter service for eight docking locations.
However, the plans were put on hold when the recession hit. The timespan on planning permission has now lapsed and the investors have to reapply for it. Mr Coffey said the upsurge in the economy and expected growth in population in the area, allied to ever-increasing cruise liner visits, now made the project viable again.
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