Delays in the preparation and implementation of a master plan for South Park has been slammed by Independent city councillor Catherine Connolly.
The comment was made at a special meeting of the Galway City Council last Monday where a two year progress report on the Galway City Development Plan 2011-2017 was presented to members. It stated: “The remediation of South Park as part of the master plan is ongoing. Funding to progress a flood risk assessment was sought for 2012 but not received. A further application for funding will be made to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Governement in 2013.”
It was in 2006 that South Park was found to contain traces of arsenic and mercury in certain areas which were then cordoned off from the public due to concerns over the risks the toxins posed to children playing in these areas. The restrictions were later revised in early 2009 following consultation with the HSE and remedial works such as ‘capping’ the contaminated areas were looked at. A new master plan was also sought that same year.
At this week’s meeting Cllr Connolly said: “It has been seven years since the results of the contamination were made known. This is unacceptable. Fifteen councillors wanted this as a special amenity area. The people of the Claddagh and the city did not create the problem of dangerous metals there.” Cllr Connolly also called for amendments to be put into the City Development Plan “so that we can deal with what we can”.
Labour councillor Billly Cameron also highlighted the South Park master plan adding: “Many clubs have been left in limbo. The sooner the master plan can be done the better. It is necessessary to give this priority.”
Councillors were told that the master plan is an ongoing process and it involved a number of different components including the re-evaluation of the original flood risk assessment. They were further told that there is funding in the 2013 budget for this re-evaluation and for the next level of testing.