Writes Leo McMahon
A pontoon linking Haulbowline to Spike Island would greatly boost tourism on the western side of Cork Harbour, argued Cllr Michael Frick Murphy (SF) at the recent meeting of the county council’s Carrigaline-Ballincollig Municipal District (MD).
He had a motion asking the local authority to look at means of utilizing the new amenity park that replaced the Irish Steel and waste site on Haulbowline, which is connected via Rocky Island to the mainland near Ringaskiddy, as an alternative and complimentary access point to Spike Island, now one of Europe’s most popular visitor attractions but mainly served by vessels from Cobh.
In a report, MD officer Kevin O’Regan agreed that the development of the park on Haulbowline, which is due to be officially opened shortly, did present an opportunity for a departure point from here to Spike.
The council, he continued, would welcome the development of a pontoon on Haulbowline to improve connectivity with Spike Island. However, Haulbowline was in the ownership of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for which the council acted as agent for its remediation and the suggestion of providing a pontoon was a matter for that body.
Cllr Murphy proposed the Dept of the Marine be written to. Mr O’Regan in reply, said he understood that the department wished to transfer ownership to the Dept of Defence and that there were ongoing discussions between these and the council, the latter of which would be interested in taking over the amenity park. The legal process would have to be finalized before the suggestion of a pontoon could be further developed.
As previously pointed out by Cllr Eoghan Jeffers (SF), Cllr Murphy said there was need for a tourism strategy along similar lines to the Wild Atlantic Way for the western side of the harbour that could interlink Camden Fort Meagher, Crosshaven; Passage West Maritime Museum, Haulbowline and Spike.
Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) spoke in support saying there was need for alternative access points to Spike. He argued there would be easier parking from Ringaskiddy and Haulbowline and asked that the proposal be progressed.
Cllr Jeffers concurred as did Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) who described additional access as a natural progression that would help facilitate additional events such as concerts on Spike Island, adding that there was a historical legacy and link from Passage West to Haulbowline which at one time were all part of one parish. Cllr Murphy’s motion was adopted.
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