At last Tuesday evenings meeting Margaret Long gave an update on the Region Park Trails project. All involved are very grateful to Cork County Council and in particular Engineer Vincent Florish who has overseen the spend of over €400,000 in the last 18 months. A similar amount will be spent this year and the result of this expenditure is evident in the facilities and trails now in the park. Work on a new playground and multi purpose pitch will be starting in the coming weeks. The Trails brochure has had already had a second 4,000 reprint run, kindly sponsored by the Shopping Centre and the Council and a third is being planned. Any business interested in supporting this initiative can contact Margaret at Café Chico. The Cork County Mayor, Noel O’Connor will officially launch the trails on tomorrow (Saturday 4th) at 11am, and the organisers would appreciate if any members that are available could attend to show their support.
At last Tuesday mornings meeting we had a very interesting talk from Aodan Enright of Smarter Egg. Aodan explained how he left a relatively senior and secure role in EMC back in 2008 to provide executive coaching to businesses and how this evolved into the Smarter Egg concept which now has a network of over 50 businesses. Of particular interest were the details of the regular events held upstairs in the White Horse, which have become well known for the concept of the Red Chair where guests such as Bob Savage, MD of EMC, and Gillian Keating, President of The Cork Chamber of Commerce, have shared their wisdom with those attending. Indeed the events have become so popular that there is now a waiting list to attend. As was pointed out by those who attended last Tuesday morning we are fortunate to have a networking opportunity in Ballincollig with access to such to such high calibre individuals and much credit must go to Joe Carey of the White Horse in attracting these events to the town.
The meeting was held upstairs in Nosh & Coffee at 8 AM and was addressed by Daithaí Ó Donnobhán is the local area representative for SECAD (South & East Cork Area Development Partnership). Daithai set out the resources and supports that SEcad have given to Ballincollig over the last number of years.
Last Tuesday we had a presentation from some of candidates running in the forthcoming Local Elections. All of the Ballincollig based candidates:
- Derry Canty– Fine Gael
- Shirley Griffin – The Peoples Contract
- Garret Kelleher – Fine Gael
- Cormac Manning – Green Party
- Daithi Ó’Donobháin – Fianna Fail
were in attendance and in addition Donnchadh O’Laoghaire who is running for Sin Fein in our area also attended.
All of the candidates had 3 minutes to introduce themselves and to give their reasons as to why they were the best candidates and this was then followed by a, sometimes lively, debate with the members present.
Of particular relevance to the members was the issue of Rates and all candidates left the meeting with a clear understanding of the opinions of the local business people. It was pointed out by Con Nagle and Jim O’Leary among others that rents have fallen significantly over the last number of years but there has been no such downward movement on rates.
It was pointed out by Tom Butler that for the last number of years Ballincollig has only had one representative in the Council Chamber and the general feeling is that, despite Cllr Derry Canty’s hard work, the town has suffered due to this lack of representation. There was unanimous consensus from the BBA members that the community needs to be proactive and elect as many Ballincollig based candidates as possible and, more importantly, following the election, those elected need to cooperate and work together for the benefit of our town, regardless of party allegiances.
Emer Cassidy asked that all of the candidates study the BBA submission for the Draft County Development Plan in order that they better understand the feeling and opinions of the local business community, both the small indigenous businesses and the multi-nationals based here. All the candidates agreed to take this on board and subsequent to the meeting all candidates were supplied with a copy of this submission.
The issue of traffic management and paid parking was also brought up and the feelings of the group were clearly made known to the candidates. Orlagh Burke asked that all candidates clearly state their position on the introduction of paid parking to the town and all 6 confirmed to the meeting that in principal they were all against its introduction. Cllr Derry Canty supplied the attached document which was recently discussed by the County Council Transport Strategic Policy Committee. Based on this policy document it would appear that this will be an issue that the BBA will have to return to in the future and as discussed at the meeting the more representatives that the area has representing us the better. In this regard the BBA would ask all members to ensure that they and their family and friends vote on the 23rd of May and that they vote for local candidates and pass their preferences to the other local runners.