New town 'huge threat to city's population'
on 28/06/2012 00:00:00
It has been designed for a population of about 13,000, with new roads, schools, shops, and a rail link.
It is estimated that it could cost at least €50m to deliver infrastructure and services like water, gas, and electricity to the town, which will be developed in phases over the next 15 to 20 years.
However, Cllr John Kelleher (Lab) said the town would "draw" people out of the city.
"It will be great for the landowners out there," he said.
"But we have empty shops, offices, and apartments on every street in the city. This new town will do terrible damage to Cork City.
"They say this new town is in the Cork Area Strategic Plan [CASP], but CASP can be revisited.
"Let them build it elsewhere, near Carrigtwohill or Little Island, where they already have roads and services."
Cllr Joe O'Callaghan (FG) said there was no need for a new town at Monard.
"It's the wrong place and the wrong time.
"The last thing it's suitable for is a new town. It's a waste of time, space, energy, and money."
However, city manager Tim Lucey described the Monard plans as "highly strategic".
It will be within the Cork metropolitan area and the 13,000 people who may live there will look to the city for their leisure, recreation, and service needs, he said.
With plans to grow Cork city's population to 150,000 by 2022, Mr Lucey said a new town at Monard would not impact on those growth targets.
He also moved to quell talk of a city boundary extension.
He urged councillors to wait until Environment Minister Phil Hogan completes a local government reform programme, which is due in months.
Mr Lucey said it would be better if councillors considered that report first, and then had time to "reflect on their positions" before considering other matters.
In his first speech as lord mayor on Friday, Cllr John Buttimer (FG) said, because of falling population levels, Cork was fighting to retain its second city status.
He said he would ask Mr Lucey to prepare a boundary extension proposal.
* Cork City's population figures are showing signs of stabilisation after three decades of decline.
However, the population of 'ring towns' in the county have grown faster than expected and need to be controlled, according to Cork city manager Tim Lucey.
From a high of 138,267 in 1979, its population has dropped just 0.2% in the past five years - from 119,418 in 2006 to 119,230 last year.
However, the city has the oldest average age of any city in the Republic at 38.7 years, compared to the 36.1 average.
Mr Lucey said there were signs of "vibrancy" in the city housing market where 3,192 households have been created since 2007 - half the 6,396 target in the 2007-2013 city development plan.