Independent Councillor June Murphy has said that she hopes plans to upgrade Ballinwillin Park in Mitchelstown are not ruined because of a game of “political football”.
The East Cork councillor made the comments at last Tuesday’s Fermoy Municipal District meeting, after concept designs for the park were issued to members of the council. The new plans include an upgrade to the current facility, turning it into a sensory park.
Fine Gael Councillor Kay Dawson said she wasn’t against the idea, but said it needed consultation with the residents.
“The park was designed by the people living there. The design didn’t happen by accident, it happened through public consultation over quite a number of meetings. This is a completely different concept now to the original design without any public consultation.”
“A lot of groups have put work into the park over the years and those groups should be consulted before any changes are made. This should not become the town park for the whole of Mitchelstown. It is a small park in a residential area. If you draw that much population and usage into the park it interferes with the dynamics of a localised area. This is not the town park of Fermoy. One of the reasons it has worked is because there isn’t an over influx of people using it,” said Cllr Dawson.
Cllr Murphy said the design was only a concept and that residents would be consulted before any changes were made, but questioned Cllr Dawson on how it is currently working.
Cork County Council senior executive engineer Brendan O’Gorman said the park isn’t working at all as an amenity. “We don’t want an exclusive facility, we should embrace people.”
“You get a funding stream in place by having a plan. If you’re spending big money on a project it has to be used, it’s under-utilised,” he added.
A decision to send the design to the projects office at Cork County Council to develop the concept was decided upon.