Marine leisure strategy for South Cork coastline
By Leo McMahon
A MARINE Leisure Infrastructure Strategy (2010-2020) for around 500 kilometres of South Cork coastline stretching from Timoleague to Youghal was officially launched by Cllr Kevin Murphy at County Hall recently.
It complements a similar strategy for West Cork covering 700km from the Kerry border to Courtmacsherry which was completed in 2008 and is aimed at ensuring development of coastal inlets, bays, beaches and harbours in a coherent and sustainable manner by making the best use of existing and planned infrastructure and to create a quality brand for coastal tourism and leisure in Ireland’s largest county.
‘This publication contains an Action Plan with inputs from over 100 stakeholder organisations and a steering group with representatives from the county council, Kinsale, Cork and Youghal Town Councils, the Ports of Kinsale, Cork and Youghal, Failte Ireland, the Coast and Marine Resources Centre attached to UCC, South and East Cork Area Development (SECAD), West Cork Development Partnership and Inland Fisheries Ireland’, said Cllr Murphy, who is also a member of Kinsale Harbour Commissioners.
The motive behind both West and South Cork strategies, he pointed out, was to ‘use resources, reassess their value and tap into the potential of marine infrastructure to develop sustainable products, services and jobs and also encourage investment along the coast’.
County manager Martin Riordan said the Cork coastline was a unique asset and because its nature and uses had changed over the years, it was necessary to revisit it, build on the product and ensure its potential was maximised.
Complimenting the compilers of the 158 page report, he said Cork had for the first time, a detailed inventory of infrastructure and service providers. ‘We now need to maintain momentum behind this work because this strategy will engage and encourage many agencies to promote development and initiatives.
‘Tourism is one of the key sectors with potential for growth. We have the infrastructure we need to see how we can brand, package and market the unique product and services we have but it is important that we all understand and appreciate what we have along our coastline if we are to showcase it to visitors. Let’s build on the great potential identified in this strategy’, Mr Riordan added.
The strategy comprises an overview highlighting the importance of marine tourism and recreation etc, methodology, an action plan and proposals for its implementation. There are also several appendices including an audit of all coastal facilities in Kinsale Harbour, Crosshaven, Ringaskiddy, Monkstown and Passage West, Cork city, Cobh and other parts of Cork Harbour; from Timoleague to Harbour View and Coolmain, Garrettstown and Old Head, Oysterhaven, Nohoval, Roberts Cove to Myrtleville and along the coast of East Cork via Inch, Ballycotton and Knockadoon to Youghal. There are also sections on the riparian infrastructure of Inniscarra.
Fifty-two short and long-term actions are detailed in the strategy. A key proposal is to create a coastal brand or quality mark for the entire Cork coastline with a central information website.
Short-term priorities include the upgrading of parking and the slipway in Sandycove near Kinsale, develop a commercial tourism pick up/drop off point for angling and commercial tourism at Adams Quay, Kinsale; develop a boat park and slipway near Archdeacon Duggan Bridge, Kinsale; further develop water sports at Garrettstown and Oysterhaven, identify locations for public moorings in Cork Harbour and Oysterhaven, identify four key water access points in Cork Harbour, develop a pontoon or marina and public moorings in Youghal, install uniform water trail and bird watching signage, further develop Spike Island and Fort Camden for heritage tourism, develop a new access with trailer parking at Fountainstown, support the use of Dooneen Pier near the Old Head for angling and tour boats and improve water quality.
Encouraging non traditional users of the sea to engage in marine activities and promote the development of curricula for school children using existing adventure centre facilities are other proposals of which there are many in the strategy highlighting the many opportunities for the county.
Among those who attended the launch were Denis Healy, Port of Cork; Kinsale Harbour Master, Captain Phil Devitt, county councillors and various stakeholders.
Copies of the Marine Leisure Infrastructure Strategy are available from administrative officer Rose Carroll, Cork County Council, Corporate Affairs, Floor 14, County Hall, Cork, who had a major input into the project. It can also be viewed on the website www.corkcoco.ie
BY LEO McMAHON Saturday July 16th, 2011