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Potential For Owenabue Carpark Parklet To Increase In Size

Writes Ciaran Dineen

Users of the parklet in the Owenabue carpark in Carrigaline will be pleased to hear that there is a possibility that the size of the public space could increase sometime in the summer.

That is according to Cork County Council, who were responding to a motion raised at the monthly meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD) on Monday. Councillor Liam O’Connor (FG) raised the possibility of increasing the size of the hugely successful parklet, which was installed at the front of the Owenabue carpark late last summer.

The motion submitted by Cllr O’Connor was as follows; “that the area engineer assesses if the parklet in the Owenabue carpark could be extended. Four car parking spaces would need to be removed. Plant boxes to section off the area would be required and additional seating could be installed.”

At Monday’s meeting the Councillor went on to further present his argument as to why the loss of a few car spaces would be justified given that the amenity has provided a totally new “social space” since it was installed last year. He added that the benefits don’t just extend to the public who can avail of the space but that it also “encourages people to spend a little more time down in the town centre, therefore supporting the local businesses nearby.”

He received support from Cllr Seámus McGrath (FF) who acknowledged that while the loss of parking spaces can sometimes be an issue, that in this case the benefits of extending the amenity outweighed the costs in this situation, noting that in these public health times, the bigger the space the better.

In response, the roads department of the Carrigaline MD indicated that they had no issue with following through on Cllr O’Connor’s request, suggesting that works required could be done relatively quickly and with ease.

With the appetite there to move forward, the last remaining hurdle needed to be jumped was that of cost, and whether there was room in the Town Development Fund budget to cover the request. Currently the Council and Carrigaline MD representatives have agreed on a €103k budget for projects and schemes under this fund, with about €17k left to play with for the remainder of the year.

Another element that entered the equation was that of the Public Realm enhancement plan for Carrigaline, which Councillors are expecting to receive an update on. There was some caution about moving ahead with costing to add additional benches and planters to an area that is expected to undergo significant change over the coming 18 months, with it likely that the current parklet will at some stage be moved.

However, the point was made that any purchasing of street furniture would not be simply disposed of and could be relocated elsewhere in the end following the end of temporary measures. It was agreed that an evaluation of costs would be sought, with councillors to be updated in the coming weeks.

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