I think the CB are going about this the wrong way. By linking the redevelopemnt of Pairc Ui Caoimh and the Centre of Excellence together they risk both projects which do not necesasrily need to be delivered on the same site. In fact, I am of the opinion taht the GAA and the City woudl be better served in having these elements in different locations. I think it is absolutely essential to have the Pairc redeveloped on the existing site, as it is an absolutely fantastic location for a stadium, close to the city centre, facing the river, and at the edge of the future redeveloped docklands.
A redeveloped stadium, with associated uses [hotel, museum, bar/restaurants, cultural uses] will actually complement the Dockalnds Strategy including the objective to deliver a much needed Regional Scale park. The positioning of the training pitch however, is disastrous in terms of the imapct on the planned park and will not be consistent with the obejctive to deliver public amenities in that location. Its location and layout means that it completely severs the overall area and creates a barrier right in the centre of the site.
I really hope the Cb dont try to blackmail the city council and throw the baby out with the bathwater on this. i have a bad feeling that the City Council's real concerns over the impact of the training pitch etc are going to be twisted around in order to push an unsatisfactory solution here that nobody should be happy with. I am also concerned about the lack of detail on the CB's plans for the redevelopemnt of the stadium - will it be a piecemeal half-baked job with no coherent overall design? Because, although the Pairc is currently in a shocking state, its biggest attraction as a venue is the fact that its a single structure with a single design ethos and has a cracking atmosphere as a result. this will be destroyed if all we get are four amateur-standard new stands are constructed independently [semple's biggest disadvantage is that it looks like it was built by four seperate local builders].
We shouldn't accept anything less than the best for this site. that goes for both GAA people and the general public. this reliance on stuff about what's good for the gaa is good for cork is just neanderthal. the general public should not lose out on a planned amenity because the CB simply decide to insist on a training pitch. similarly, the gaa public should not lose out on a top class stadium because the CB decide to embark on a route that favours political gesturing and power-plays rather than competent delivery of high quality sports facilities.
However, my gut feeling is that the Cork CB prefers to go down the route of Evening Echo front page politics, rolling out the Cork Mafia and will try to bully their way to a bad solution. In my opinion, this will ultimately fail [regardless of what Cork City council vote on next week] because even if the CB get their hands on the additional land required, it makes the planning and legal process much much more challenging. It is highly unlikely, for instance, that An Bord Pleanala will accept the undermining of the City Development Plan objectives, by effectively privatising a large chunk of centrally located land designated fo rpublic amenities - [cork has one of the lowest levels of green space in any western european city so this park is a huge project, bigger than a singlee trainig pitch]. Even if the City Council are forced to amend those specific land designations, the project may be refused on strategic grounds.
Apologies for long post - I am just sick of going to the Pairc walking through puddles and weeds, using those toilets, looking at the state of the place - and when an opportunity comes along to sort it out, the CB look like they are going to do it completely arseways.....