200 sign petition for meeting on water treatment plant
Over 200 people have signed a petition seeking a “proper public meeting” following an Irish Water information evening about a planned new wastewater treatment plant for the harbour village of Ballycotton.
Local knowledge, some villagers insist, may hold the key to the smooth progress of the planned scheme.
The information session been held at the local school and, in the aftermath, Irish Water infrastructure portfolio development manager Michael Tinsley said there had been “some very constructive feedback”.
A 1.7km pipeline will be laid beneath the village’s sole, narrow, street posing a major challenge to engineers as it is tightly bordered by buildings on both sides.
The pipe will carry the equivalent of 800 wheelie bins of treated waste into the bay every day.
Few, if any, among the Ballycotton population oppose the plant, although some landowners are understandably unhappy about a loss of land along the route.
The information evening, it emerged later, had revealed a strong feeling of exclusion among some locals
Seemingly uncomfortable with the consultation process, over 200 people signed a petihad organised by the Ballycotton Development Company seeking a proper public meeting. “We might be able to give a bit of input into something they haven’t thought of,” said one local.
Others were wary that Irish Water and Cork County Council might not appreciate the landscape’s physiology or the consequences of managing it.
Geoff Fisher, meanwhile, fears Irish Water may not realise that coastal erosion has claimed “a wall and a roadway” in the last 25 years on the cliff face where a pumping station is proposed.
Maurice Whelan, whose father helped install the current sewerage system, has similar fears and adds that a scenic play area popular for wedding photos might best be spared.
The business community, with years of trading experience in the village, is also keen to advise on peak trading perition ods and the best plan to minimise disruption and closures. Their input could decide whether main street pipes are laid in phases, or otherwise.
As Irish Water prepare a planning application, Mr Tinsley said local considerations will be “taken into account through the plant’s planning and design stages”.
Agreeing to “work closely with the local community”, he says a public meeting has “not been discounted”.