- South Park
It is has now been confirmed (after 8 years of waiting and previous reports to the contrary)that the contaminated soil in South Park does not require remediation. See press release and copy of my motion and Council’s reply below.
- Knocknacarra Community Centre
The D Day for submissions from the Community to manage and operate the new Community Centre at the Cappagh Park in Knocknacarra has been extended for the second time to Friday the 26th September at 4pm. This extension is very welcome and I would appeal to the Community to come on board and not allow the privatisation of this wonderful and much needed facility.
- Wolfe Tone Bridge.
Consultants in a recent written report to City Management recommended the introduction of a 26T weight restriction on this Bridge. However it was confirmed at the Council Meeting on Monday night that Management have given priority to the planned works on the Lough Atalia Bridge and are happy to take the risk for the moment of not imposing the recommended weight restriction on the Wolfe Tone Bridge!
- Embargo on Staff
The City Manager confirmed that the ongoing recruitment embargo on hiring staff continues and that the City Council is now operating with 30% less staff than four years ago-yet under the cynical government ‘Labour Activation Scheme’ the City Council with the said reduced staff is obliged to take on 55 people by the end of the year for up to 2 2months and provide training in order to facilitate the government narrative that unemployment rates are going down!
On a Fine Gael Motion, theBoard of Management is to be extended to allow for an increase of an extra male member on a Board that already has 7 men and no women!
South Park: Results of Soil Retesting indicate no requirement to re-mediate the site
Cllr Connolly-9th September 2014
Cllr Catherine Connolly said she very much welcomes the contents of the most recent written report from the City Council on the status of the contaminated soil in South Park.
In response to a detailed written motion tabled by Cllr Connolly last week, the City Council Management have now confirmed following a detailed re-examination and soil retesting that there is now no risk to human health emanating from the contaminated soil in South Park site and having regard to its present use, there is no requirement to re-mediate the site.
At the same time as welcoming the positive news however, Councillor Connolly said it is extra-ordinary that it has taken more than 8 years to come up with this analysis.
Original reports as far back as 2006 and 2007 confirmed she said that the contaminated soil which including high concentrates of lead posed a health risk and that remediation works were essential.
Indeed in a detailed response to another question submitted by Cllr Connolly back in 2010, Council Management provided a detailed and costed plan for the necessary remediation works and also a very specific time frame for their completion and roll out of a masterplan which was to be in or around the end of 2013.
Furthermore over the last 8 years the use of the park has been limited to the public and sporting clubs because of the soil contamination identified in the Consultants reports and the inherent health and safety risk posed to the public by same and these reports have cost a substantial amount of tax-payers money, the precise amount of which is still awaited said Cllr Connolly.
Moreover the proposed and preferred consultants’ remediation solution at the time and over the years was to bring in top soil to cover the park, a solution which caused great anxiety to the residents of the area who rightly feared that such a solution would lead to more serious flooding in an area already prone to flooding.
Now however more than 8 years after the soil contamination was first highlighted, the public is being informed that no remediation works are necessary and that the next step in the long saga is for the City Council to apply to the to the EPA for a certification of authorization for the site.
This documentation apparently is currently being prepared by the relevant Council Department.
Cllr Connolly said while it is positive news it is unbelievable that for eight years, Councillors were informed that a master-plan for the use of South Park could not go ahead because of the contaminated soil.
At this point she said City Management will have to prioritize the development and publication of such a Master Plan and she will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure there is no further delay in publishing the plan.
To the Mayor and Each Member of Galway City Council
21/14 Notice given by Cllr. Catherine Connolly
Received 1st September, 2014.
That this Council call for the immediate and urgent implementation of the master plan for South Park including full clarification on the current status of and the delay in progressing same given that the discovery of dangerous metals/substances was highlighted in 2006 and full clarification on the recent retesting of the contaminated soil and given that repeated replies to written questions have confirmed that ‘RPS are continuing to advance the preparation of the Masterplan for the South Park remediation’ and further given that in a written reply to a question dated the 6th July 2010 a written table of works with a time schedule was provided which included for the construction of works over a twelve month period to be concluded at the end of 2012 and further that immediate clarification be given on the source of funding for the master plan and whether funding needs to be allocated under this year’s budget and/or whether the funding required is coming from another source.
To The Mayor and Each Member of Galway City Council
Re: South Park Recreational Lands
I refer to previous correspondences in respect to the above, in particular the assessment of the soil condition within the park. As you are aware the site has been subject to detailed examination, surveys, site investigations and with up to 116 soil samples being taken to determine and analyse the soil composition as to potential risks to the public. A re-assessment of the risk findings was carried out in accordance with the most current Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment (CLEA) soil guideline values. The conclusion of the assessment states that there is no risk to human health emanating from the South Park site and, having regard to its present use, there is no requirement to re-mediate the site.
As the South Park site is identified and registered as a historic unlicensed landfill, it is subject to the requirement of S.I. 524 Waste Management (Certificates of Unlicensed Waste Disposal and Recovery Activity) Regulations 2008. This requires that once the risk assessment has been carried out for the historic landfill, that the Local Authority apply to the EPA for a certificate of authorisation for the site. The documentation required for the application for the certificate of authorisation is currently being prepared.
The issuing of such a certificate of authorisation by the EPA for the site will be the final stage in the process.
The City Development Plan has a specific objective to develop a master-plan for South Park. This objective will be pursued by the Recreation and Amenity Department, and further developed as part of the work plan of the relevant Strategic Policy Committee. A funding stream will be required to advance any proposed works planned under a future master plan
I trust that the above clarifies the position for you.
Mr. Thomas Connell,
Director of Services,
Housing & Social Inclusion, Environment,
Recreation & Amenity Directorate.