Writes Leo McMahon
With good progress being made ahead of its re-opening in March, Cork County Council is seeking expressions of interest for the running of the café at Camden Fort Meagher, Crosshaven with its stunning views of Cork Harbour.
Senior executive officer (SEO) Maurice Murphy said the Designated Activity Company was finalising its legal business and other matters after which the council would be in direct management control. Much work was being done on preserving the structure of the fort, especially roof repairs. Guides were being recruited and the posts of manager and assistant manager were about to be advertised.
In reply to Cathaoirleach Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF), the SEO said the tender process for the café at the fort closed on January 12th and there were no expressions of interest so expressions of interest would be sought to let people come back with proposals. Longer term, it was intended making the café accessible outside of having to do a tour of the fort, which would make it more attractive, but that would require seeking significant funding for further works on what is a heritage site.
Cllrs Buckley, Jack White (FG) and Seamus McGrath (FF) welcomed the decision by the council to seek expressions of interest for running the café.
In reply to Cllr White, the SEO said ten people had been recruited as guides which was the quota sought. With regard to marketing and advertising, he said this would happen as soon as there was an opening date. In future, the website and social media for the amenity would come under umbrella of the council.
Cllr Buckley again called for a RV (recreational vehicle or motor home) park on land near the fort.
Cllr McGrath felt the council should use its capital budget if it couldn’t obtain funding for access to the balcony café. In reply, the SEO said he was looking at all avenues of funding but warned it would be significant and the work required would have to be carried out off season.
Members welcomed the progress and thanked Mr Murphy for the report. Cllr Buckley said Camden Fort Meagher would be the prime location for viewing Volvo Cork Week (Yachting) in July. She also a suggested a room be allocated in the fort for artefacts recently found in archaeological excavations on the M28 Cork-Ringaskiddy project and the new housing scheme off Church Bay Road.
On a proposal by Cllr Buckley, seconded by Cllr McGrath, the MD recommended the exchange of lands at Church Bay Road, Crosshaven which includes a wayleave under Section 183 of the Local Government Act. Cllr Buckley said she would welcome a timeline for a footpath leading towards the cemetery because the bend was lethal for walkers, and it was needed as soon as possible.
Raised table near Barnes Lane and at the top of Drake’s Point, Crosshaven were again requested by Cllr Buckley.
An Cathaoirleach repeated her call for funding to be set aside by the MD for festive lighting at the Pier Garden, Crosshaven. She also asked that the Health and Safety Authority be written to about the presence of asbestos on a site in the MD. The council correctly stopped work there proceeding in September when this was discovered to ensure that it would be removed and disposed of properly but nothing, it appeared, had happened since.