Council officials hope to repair weir
Cork County Council officials are hopeful talks with OPW officials will result in grants from government departments for a €1.6m repair project on the weir in Fermoy which is on the verge of collapse.
The weir and fish pass have been all but destroyed by repeated flooding in the river in recent years.
The situation currently threatens the activities of the local rowing club, which has said it may no longer be able to hold regattas because the damaged weir has lowered water levels along Barnane and its clubhouse.
In addition, there are fears that salmon can’t get upriver to spawn because the fish pass is damaged.
The River Blackwater is a noted salmon river and fears have been raised that if the fish pass isn’t repaired there could be a major impact on angling tourism in the area.
Senior council officials told a meeting of the Charleville/ Fermoy municipal district council that they were having talks with the OPW and Inland Fisheries Ireland, among others, in an effort to address the situation.
The cash-strapped council can’t afford to repair the weir on the River Blackwater on its own.
They said they are now “getting a hearing which they hadn’t before” and that other people are making representations on their behalf.
However, in the meantime officials revealed they are looking to procure consultants to draw up a brief on the work that is needed to be done.
“Ideally we’d like a commitment for money to go for tender for consultants and we’d be hopeful something will be forthcoming from the various government departments,” one senior official told councillors.
“We realise the weir is in a precarious state. It’s hard to provide timeframes at this stage. Ideally we’d like to be on site sometime next year at least to carry out stablisation works,” the official added.
This would involved sheet piling around the toe of the weir.
Cllr Frank O’Flynn, who had asked for an update, said they needed to prepare the brief quickly as it could take some time to get planning permission.
Cllr Noel McCarthy maintained that once the consultants’ report is finalised they will need to meet the OPW to get the project pushed over the line, “otherwise it could be put on the long finger”.