My letter to the Minister re. the boundary extension at Hop Island, December 2017

Before we started a briefing of Cork County Council to discuss the proposed new City boundary on Monday, 4th Dec, we were distributed with a map:






That same evening, Cork City Council also sat in their Chamber in City Hall.  They too had a map distributed to them.  You can see the scale of the difference at Hop Island/Passage West and Upper Monkstown:





I emailed our Chief Executive asking how on earth it was possible that two different maps were being discussed by the two different authorities on the same evening on foot of a joint negotiation.  He responded, advising that the map distributed to the City Council had not been authorised but that the map we had distributed to us did not show the results of a final element of the negotiations preceding the Council briefings.  The County wanted the boundary to run to the Chetwynd Viaduct at the N71 rather than further out at the brow of the hill.  The City didn’t agree.  But the City’s Lord Mayor wanted Hop Island.  At the last minute, the City negotiating team ceded the ground at Chetwynd, saying the boundary could be at the Viaduct if the County would give Hop Island.  The County’s Chief Executive said fine: the boundary could be set at the MacKinnon suggested line at Hop Island, i.e. almost down to the development boundary of Passage West.

The implication locally for us is that in developing our town, we will be trying to plan and maintain one of our greatest marketing tools – the Greenway – through a different local authority.  I know from working in Douglas how difficult this can be.  So after having spent a day on the phone to some of my fellow councillors, I wrote the following letter, asking for the Minister to please consider the future of Passage West, cc’ing it to those listed and including a personal covering letter:
Letter to Minister, 07-12-2017_3

I got no acknowledgement from anyone, either the Minister or any of those cc’ed.  On Monday 11th Dec, the final map to be recommended to the Minister was circulated to all County councillors at our statutory meeting:






The Chief Executive, the Deputy Chief and the Mayor were all away on business.  Many of us spoke at that meeting, including myself.  Our efforts were always going to be wasted emotion.  The new boundary as indicated in final map was recommended to the Minister and was approved by cabinet yesterday morning.