Cork city to adopt waste plan despite local anger


The Cork city manager, Mr Joe Gavin, has used his power under the new Waste Amendment Act to force the adoption of a waste management plan for the city.

The new law is designed to give local authority managers this power when councillors are undecided on the adoption of a plan. Members of Cork Corporation failed to reach agreement because they were confronted by a political conundrum.

Cork's municipal waste dump at Kinsale Road is almost full. The official position until two weeks ago was that it was to close in September of next year. With waste management becoming a problem for Cork county too, both local authorities had produced a strategy for the future. The county would provide a superdump, and the city would contribute a materials recovery facility, or waste segregation plant, which was earmarked for a Kinsale Road site, when the dump closed.

But Kinsale Road residents said "No". They had been promised they would not have to suffer a recovery facility after putting up with the city dump in their neighbourhood. Members of the corporation adopted the NIMBY principle.

Mr Gavin has now forced the adoption of the waste plan, with an amendment allowing for a public/private partnership in waste management.

It has also emerged that the city dump may not close in September next year and that by banning commercial waste from the site its life as a household waste dump may be prolonged to 2005. But Mr Dan Boyle, the Green Party's chairman of the corporation's environment committee, says this has never been discussed with corporation members.

Although Mr Gavin may have implemented the plan, the part of the closed dump on which the recovery facility is to be built will be transferred to private ownership. This will happen once the company which will operate it has been chosen by corporation members. Will they pass the land transfer on the nod? Hardly. And if they don't transfer it, they have been advised legal action could ensue, as a number of companies have tendered in good faith to build the facility. This one will run and run.

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