Prior to the meeting proper Town Manager Patricia Power informed the chamber that under the Local Government Act 2001, the Joint Burial Board would be subsumed into the functions of Cork County Council. This move is expected to occur in 2011. The manager proceeded that due to the economic uncertainties, the Board’s projected income and expenditure figures for 2011 would mirror those of 2010. This meant that €112,029 burial would be spent, with a county council levy of €64,689 on Youghal Town Council, while Cork County Council would contribute €33 339 to fund the Boards deficit .
Prior to the meeting Town Clerk Liam Ryan said that over the next three months he would provide statistical analysis of Youghal under 1) Population, 2) Employment & Unemployment and 3) Other Issues. This would provide a clear picture of the town with a view to future planning. Part 1 of this process is synopsised elsewhere in this edition.
Also prior to agenda, comments were passed on the previous night’s screening of A Town Out Of Time, Michael Twomey and Kieran McCarthy’s sobering and contemplative commentary on Youghal’s gradual decline through the past decade. For whatever reasons, neither councillors nor council representative had responded to invitation by attending. On reflection, the members were now keen to see the film and it was agreed that an invitation be forwarded to the filmmakers to screen it in the chamber in January or February, though Cllr Barbara Murray favoured a second public viewing. It was also considered that, subject to the council’s perceptions, relevant agencies such as the IDA, etc., might also be invited to view it thereafter.
Cllr Sandra McLellan congratulated the Inch Rovers ladies football team on winning the All Ireland Club championship. Cllr Murray echoed the sentiment and also extended it to Michael Twomey on what she understood was an “excellent” screening the night previous. She also praised Harmony for its recent production, Weenie. Cllr Sammy Revins paid tribute to Youghal United on their third round Intermediate Cup win. Cllr Eoin Coyne praised all those participating in theatrical productions over the Christmas period.
Town Foreman’s Report:
Cllr Liam Burke said the potholes in Nealon’s Quay car park and on Raheen Road needed repairing. He reminded the town engineer that road marking at the junction of St. Coran’s Road and Seafield Road, were urgently required. The engineer, Paul Murray, said he had discussed it with the road liner and anticipated that a yield sign would be painted on the road. On recommendation from Cllr Burke however, he would now consider erecting a pole sign to that effect in the area.
Cllr Coyne remarked how “shiny” the statue in Green Park now was but suggested that the nearby fountain either be also cleaned up or removed. The councillor drew attention to road signs around the town being “out of place.” He then referred to concerns by the residents of Ashe Street, DeValera Street and Emmet Place over the delayed implementation of the Traffic Management Plan, before being told it would be addressed later in the meeting.
Cllr Michael Beecher said the roads at Knockaverry needed attention, as do those at Summerdale Lawn, though the latter were in Cork County Council’s jurisdiction.
Mayor Mary Linehan Foley asked whether there was an Airtricity number to ring regarding two lights out of order at Quarryvale. She was told that the estate was the responsibility of the developer and not the town council, as he had not yet submitted the appropriate forms for the council to take the estate in hand. Cllr Murray asked why the council didn’t just draw down the bond. The town clerk observed that there was “an ongoing situation between the developer and Cork County Council” relating to a pumping station.
Cork County Council items:
Town engineer Paul Murray reported thus on matters raised at the previous month’s meeting: i) extensive salting was done on the main roads and Cork Hill particularly, while resources deny treatment to minor roads; ii) potholes resulting from the weather would be dealt with by the town an county councils; iii) all bar one or two bins had been removed from Claycastle for the winter, to reduce illegal dumping; iv) the contractor charged with providing disability ‘knuckling’ on the footpaths at Grattan Street and New Catherine Street has returned to work following the cold weather; iv) filter 4 at Boola is back in service; v) the reservoir clean out is virtually complete.
Cllr Murray pointed out that a “beautifully tied folded mattress in a plastic bag” had been dumped at Claycastle. She said potholes at Ballyclamsey needed attention while there was subsidence near the pump house at Claycastle. The councillor proceeded that a 100 metre duct laid at Ballyvergan was causing flooding problems and the town engineer said he was seeking to claim the developer’s bond to have it rectified. Cllr Murray informed that there was no lighting at Seafield housing estate, along with a ducting in place at the path but without a standard for light.
Cllr Sammy Revins complimented the council staff, town and county for their “fantastic and courteous” efforts over the previous cold spell.
Pinch of salt
The town manager said salt stock levels were seriously depleted nationally and locally and that Cork County Council had expended as much in recent weeks as it had during the entire 2009. She said by the end of the spell, deployment had been -and would be- reduced from 5,000 tons per night to 1,000 tons. Salt demands were high across much of Europe and grit was being added 50/50 to extend the availability. Salt, Ms Power, explained, served to prevent snow from freezing, while sand/grit provided traction. However when the snow melted the grit itself could become a slippery hazard. Difficulties may arise in lieu of further icy conditions, though main routes would most likely be treated. The National Roads Authority (NRA) was now in charge of supplies.
Meanwhile, Cork County Council’s website (www.Corkcoco.ie) now had details of local depots where salt & grit could be obtained by locals, who in turn were not disallowed from dispersing it, thanks to the Attorney General’s ruling. She noted to that people had been “much more pro-active” in the community sense in face of the weather problems.
Cllr Michael Beecher asked whether the council’s old gas yard in Greencloyne would provide the storage depot and Mr. Murray said it would be either there or in Killeagh. There was strong objection to the prospect of people having to travel to Killeagh to acquire the material and it was insisted that supplies be divided if necessary at both locations.
Cllr Murray complained that there had been no notice posted that Youghal was frozen over until 11 am on the first day of the big freeze. She said the first indication that a senior engineer in Cork claimed to have had of Youghal being “a no-go area” was through radio reports of accidents, including some on Lighthouse Hill. Cllr Murray said the NRA’s high technology IceCast monitoring system merely focused on Dungarvan and Midleton, with Youghal merely considered a point in between. Calling for a separate system for the Youghal region, she commented, adding that, “we might as well be in the depth of Goleen,” in terms of regard by the authorities. She had recommended, at Cork County Council level, that the NRA be notified and urged that it be repeated at Youghal Town Council’s offices.
Cllr Burke “fully supported” Cllr Murray’s views. He then asked for an update on the functionality of the outflow pipe at Claycastle. He welcomed the engineer’s intention to attach a short extension to the pipe by way of further improving its performance. He was inquiring as to whether an offshore licence was necessary and if not, the work would be done in the coming weeks.
Cllr Burke proceeded to bring attention to “the usual list of broken footpaths” as he intones almost traditionally now month after month. Once again then, the paths at Tallow Street, South Main Street and the junction of Strand Street and South Abbey are broken. (The ponding at the entrance to the youth centre at Nagle House is forever prevalent too, though nobody mentioned it.) The councillor asked, again for the umpteenth time, that the absent ‘concealed entrance’ sign at Summerdale Lawn be replaced.
Cllr Coyne complained of potholes on the road leading from the junction of Dermot Hurley Estate and Cork Hill. Furthermore, he asked that double yellow lines be deployed at the Quality Hotel before the summer season.
Cllr Beecher asked that a repaired manhole at Raheen Road be further remedied as it had not been a successful operation. He repeated his regular outrage at “the odour from the dump” which he labelled “outrageous”, and added that were it a private company, as against Cork County Council running it, closure would have been ordered ages ago. He recommended that it be shut anyway and hoped that prosecutions ensue from the EPA’s current procurement of statements by those affected. “There’s never been so little going into it,” observed Cllr Murray, giving rise to the lingering consideration that perhaps the odour rises from a different source.
Mayor Linehan Foley had been a little late arriving at the meeting and so now took the opportunity to congratulate Youghal Pitch and Putt Club on reaching 25 years of existence, adding that it “brings a lot of people into town.” She also commended the town clerk Liam Ryan, the council in general and Clodagh Mahon of Youghal Heritage Committee, for saving Christmas s to speak. She explained that unforeseen “issues” circumstances had threatened the pre-advertised arrival of Santa Clause at the switching on of the Christmas lights some weeks pervious. However Mr. Ryan had made the town hall available at short notice. With the further co-operation of local traders, Aquatrek , Eddie Irwin, the cast of Aladdin and others unnamed, the day was saved. Up to 1,000 people, including over 400 children who received selection boxes, passed through the building. Mulled wine and such seasonal toasts were also supplied of a frosty afternoon of free entertainment.
De Valera Street
The mayor said that an anticipated discussion on a local pontoon would not be discussed unto early in 2011 as the town clerk needed to discuss matters with some individuals. She then referred to the letter circulated to all councillors from the residents of De Valera Street. They stated that had been over two years complying with the town council on the issue of traffic management in their area “for the betterment of the town.” Due to increased traffic volumes safety continued to be compromised, by residents and non-residents, especially pedestrians. They wanted the recently designed traffic management plan adopted.
The mayor said it was always the council’s policy to adhere to the residents’ wishes. She asked whether the chamber now wanted to discuss it further or to put it to public consultation. Cllr Coyne said engineers were being well paid to design a plan that was not being implemented due to the views of non-professionals, such as people on the street who did not want to spend an extra five minutes travelling through the town. He knew there were other issues but believed the plan should be implemented no “on a trial basis at least.”
However it was decided that as there were structural works due to be conducted at Emmet Place, with consequential disruption, the issue would be addressed thereafter, probably around Easter. Cllr Burke’s suggestion that it be done so through a sub-committee was accepted.
Report on Claycastle Leisure Company Ltd., by Cllr Linehan Foley (Chair).
The mayor said a recent meeting consolidated the fact that Aura is doing very well. Some issues with local schools had been resolved, a great summer have been had and it was “all positive.” She extended congratulations to all involved at the centre and urged that the public support and avail of its facilities. Cllr Beecher reminded that the centre was the recipient of many awards, before the town clerk also reminded that Youghal Town Council established Claycastle Leisure Company, who subsequently recruited Aura to oversee the complex. “It currently employs 37 full and part-time workers, representing a sustainable source of employment and economic benefit to the town, effectively though the town council,” he concluded.
. Motion in the name of Cllr. Murray seconded by Cllr. Beecher:
“That this Council re-assess its Development Contribution Scheme in relation to Car Parking Contributions due to the change in economic climate generally”.
Cllr Murray argued that in the light of the harsh economic times it was time to reduce the contribution for car parking charges. She said other town councils were looking at doing so, with Tramore and Dunmore East heading towards €3,034, Midleton @ €1,866, Cobh @ €2,900 and Skibbereen now down 20% to €2,900. Youghal is set at €5,000. She said her motion would really affect change of use on the main street where, for example, a family home is converted to a shop. Amidst general support, the town clerk said he would consider the issue over Christmas and it would be discussed again thereafter.