Sunday 16 June 2019

Work set to start on new Kanturk fire station early this year

Cllr Timmy Collins described the existing fire station in Kanturk as “little more than a garage for the fire tender
Cllr Timmy Collins described the existing fire station in Kanturk as “little more than a garage for the fire tender"
The site at Mill Road Junction that will house the planned new fire station in Kanturk

Bill Browne

A senior Cork County Council official has said it was anticipated work would finally commence on the long-awaited new fire station in Kanturk early this year.

The issue was raised at the January meeting of the authority's Kanturk/Mallow area committee in a motion placed by Bernard Cllr Moynihan (FF) calling for progress update on the facility. 

In response, county architect Mark Collins wrote that tenders for the project had been returned to the authority towards the tail end of last year. 

"Tender assessment is currently in progress, with an anticipated start date in quarter one of 2019, subject to Department (of Housing, Planning and Local Government) approval", wrote Mr Collins. 

Once work has commenced, it is anticipated that the station will take 12 months to become fully operational. In May of 2017, area councillors gave the green light to a Part 8 planning application for the new facility on a 1.4-acre site at the Mill Road Junction on Percival Street purchased by the council for a figure believed to be in the region of €1 million. 

The current fire station is located on a confined site close to an adjacent housing estate, with no opportunity for it to be upgraded. 

The application made provision for a two-vehicle fire house and associated internal works including watch and assembly rooms; toilets/showers; workshop and muster bay and external facilities including a drill yard and 10 car-parking spaces. 

At the time, council architect Orla Higgins said it was hoped work on the new facility would get underway some time during 2018. "The upgrade we are proposing is for a new fire station capable of housing modern equipment, bringing the local service in line with modern standards and providing improved access and egress in emergencies," said Ms Higgins. 

However, a delay in the design process had set the project back slightly, with the tendering process for the project finally getting underway last summer. 

Speaking at last Friday's meeting, Municipal District Officer Liz Donovan said she was unable to say when the contractor for the project would be selected and would revert back to councillors at the February meeting. 

Confirmation that work is to start on the facility next year was warmly welcomed, with Cllr Moynihan saying he hoped the tendering process would be completed without any further delays. 

"This is a badly needed facility for Kanturk and the surrounding area, and I will continue working to ensure it is delivered as soon as possible," he said. 

Cllr John Paul O'Shea (FG) said the latest development was "positive news on a project that had been sought for several years." 

"In addition to serving a large number of local communities, the new facility will help in encouraging new retained fire-fighters and support existing staff," he said. 

Welcoming progress on the project Cllr Timmy Collins (Ind) said the existing fire station was "little more than a garage for the fire tender" and that consideration should now be given to its future use once the new facility was operational. 

This was echoed by Cllr Melissa Mullane (SF), who said it was important it was not allowed to end up as "just another derelict building", with Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) suggesting it be set aside for community use. 

Ms Donovan said that would be one possible future avenue that would be explored  by Council architects.