Thursday, 25 May 2006
Mount Olive Road, Swan's Nest Road, Mount Olive Grove and Swan's Nest Avenue are pleasant residential streets in St. Benedict's parish, Kilbarrack, in the heart of my constituency, Dublin North-East. The 400 houses in the area lie between Kilbarrack Road and Kilbarrack shopping centre. Besides the small pocket park behind the shopping centre, the residents have only one small open space of approximately three acres. For over seven years my colleague, Councillor Anne Carter, and I have campaigned to have Mount Olive-Swan's Nest open space upgraded to a full city park with plinth walls, a decorative railing, improved surface for the football pitch and a new seven-a-side pitch for the children of Kilbarrack. About six months ago I was approached by the committee of Kilmount Football Club, which uses the pitch, requesting urgent support for the upgrading of the green area and the provision of dressing rooms nearby. The Kilmount Football Club committee outlined an ambitious programme to develop the club with under age children's teams and a seven-a-side facility. I arranged for the deputy area manager of Dublin City Council to meet the committee last February.
Kilmount Football Club has provided recreation for the children and youth of the Kilbarrack parish for over 30 years at this location. The pitch is also made available to the local secondary school, Ard Scoil La Salle, which plays all home matches there and has won Leinster and all-Ireland soccer titles in the course of its outstanding academic and sports history. Last week the Mount Olive-Swan's Nest community was stunned to learn that Dublin City Council has prepared a report for the north central area committee proposing a waste management centre for a large corner section of the Mount Olive-Swan's Nest park. Instead of being offered a high-quality, refurbished small city park, my constituents are being threatened with a busy regional bring centre that will devastate the area with additional heavy traffic, remove a significant part of the amenity, leave an eyesore high wall structure for youths to hang around and produce unknown environmental effects given the range of waste accepted. The bring centre will open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days per week, including bank holidays. There is no doubt that a huge and constant stream of cars will greatly increase traffic on the already busy Swan's Nest road and avenue and Mount Olive road. It is also likely that much additional traffic will be attracted to rat-run through the adjoining 400 houses of the Grangepark estate and the over 500 houses of the Woodbine and Millwood estates in Raheny, while Raheny road, a key artery of my constituency that already has heavy traffic, will be completely clogged. The 2.4 m walls, sliding roller gates and gatehouse, highlighting poles, huge waste receptacles and 20 sq. m compactors are typical of an industrial project and have no place in a much loved area of a quiet residential estate.
Residents also have grave concerns regarding the wide range of waste products to be deposited at the location which includes, besides glass, plastic, aluminium, steel and cardboard by-products, wood and garden waste, and especially hazardous waste including waste oil, car batteries, paints and so on. On a walkabout of Mount Olive-Swan's Nest estate last week, I found residents appalled and distraught at the prospect of this waste centre being installed at their cherished local green space. They have formed an action committee totally opposed to the proposals and this evening in this House I speak for them.
Yesterday I urged Dublin City Council north central area manager, Mr. Declan Wallace, to abandon the proposed waste centre at that location and put it in an industrial estate, where such a centre truly belongs. Mr. Wallace says that the announcement is simply a pre-consultation stage of the project, but my constituents are unanimous that they do not want that waste centre on their little green in the heart of an older Dublin City Council estate under any circumstances. Instead, they want the green upgraded to full city park status with a plinth wall and railings boundary and improved pitches and facilities for the local Kilmount Football Club.
I hope Dublin City Council, under the stewardship of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, will listen to them.
Batt O'Keeffe (Minister of State with special responsibility for Housing, Urban Renewal and Developing Areas, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I thank Deputy Broughan for raising a matter obviously very much in the interests of his community.
Under the Waste Management Act 1996, as amended, local authorities have a statutory duty to make a waste management plan for the prevention, minimisation, collection, recovery and disposal of non-hazardous waste. Dublin City Council, as the lead authority for the four Dublin local authorities, completed the review of its waste management plan late last year, and a plan is now in place for the period from 2005 to 2010. Local authorities have a statutory duty under section 38 of the Waste Management Act 1996 to provide and operate, or to arrange for the provision and operation of, facilities for recovery and disposal of household waste arising within their functional areas.
Government policy on waste management, as set out in the policy statement Waste Management — Changing our Ways, is based on the internationally adopted hierarchy of options that places greater emphasis on waste prevention, followed by minimisation, re-use, energy recovery and finally, the environmentally sustainable disposal of residual waste. We must concentrate, therefore, on more and more recycling facilities to ensure the general public has easy access to a large number of high-quality facilities. Increased levels of recycling will in turn lead to reduced levels of waste going to landfill for final disposal.
The issues raised by Deputy Broughan are a matter solely for Dublin City Council at official and elected member level, and my Department has no role in the matter. However, I understand from Dublin City Council that the council is proposing to place a manned bring bank facility at Mount Olive Park, Kilbarrack, Dublin 5, which will take up 10% of the open space at the location. The location of the proposed facility is in line with the current waste management plan for the Dublin region, and the particular site in Kilbarrack is listed in the plan.
The council will require planning approval under Part 8 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 to 2003 for this facility. Under section 4 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, local authorities are exempt from planning permission when they carry out development in their own functional areas. However, Part 8 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 to 2003 sets out the procedures for public consultation that must be followed by local authorities where they propose certain classes of development. It is open to any individual to submit comments or observations on the proposed development as part of the planning process.
In this case, Dublin City Council also intends to consult local residents prior to beginning the planning approval process. The bring bank facility will also require a certificate of registration from the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, in order to operate. On the designation of the park in question, section 67 — and Schedule 13 — of the Local Government Act 2001 empower local authorities to promote the interests of the local community regarding amenity, recreation and other functions. That includes the provision of parks, gardens, open spaces, playgrounds etc. It is a matter for each local authority to determine the extent to which those facilities should be provided and to allocate resources accordingly.
Decisions on what should be provided are properly left to local authorities themselves, as they are in the best position to assess the level of need in their area and how best to address it. There will, therefore, be ample opportunities for all interested parties to convey their views to Dublin City Council on the proposal to locate a manned bring bank facility at this location.