The success of the Regional Park in Ballincollig, under the management of Cork County Council, has this week been recognised with a prestigious ULI Excellence in PlaceMaking Award while Harpers Island Ecological Project was singled out for Special Commendation in the inaugural National Excellence in PlaceMaking.
The Council received the accolades from the Urban Land Institute in association with property consultants CBRE. The ULI CBRE Excellence in Placemaking awards took place in Dublin and were established to reward organisations and communities that make genuine efforts to improve their local communities through the initiation of placemaking projects that add to the public realm and create better places in which to ‘live, work and play’.
The commended Harpers Island project is a Council owned site, managed collaboratively with Birdwatch Ireland, the National Parks & Wildlife Service and Glounthaune Community Association and is part of both a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area. The vision for Harpers Island is to enhance the biodiversity, plant native wood-lands, create nature trails and develop a wetlands education centre.
Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey acknowledging the Award commented “It’s gratifying to see the work undertaken by Cork County Council being acknowledged at a National scale. The Ballincollig Regional Park site was acquired in 1977 and since acquiring the site we have installed the County’s first skate park, extensive footpaths, established the Ballincollig Regional Park Development Plan in 2012 which has seen an investment of €1.4m on facilities in the park including the playground, multi-use games areas, allotments, trails, and landscaping. This investment is reflected in the exponential increase of usage of the park in recent years with over 660,000 people visiting in 2018. In addition the Regional Park will soon be linked to the 20 acre amenity lands at Fionn Laoi, which will open a section of the park behind the former heritage centre to the public, thereby creating a riverside walk/cycleway circa of 1km in length, we are exceptionally proud of this project”.
The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy commented “Place-making is about building a strong sense of pride in our communities, co-creating a sense of belonging, opening up space for collaboration and inspiration and promoting health and wellbeing– Ballincollig Regional Park has become a fantastic recreational space that is alive and buzzing, bringing the community together. Cork County Council is deserving of this recognition of its remarkable achievements in the regeneration of the park. It is great also to see the fantastic Harpers Island project being identified for special commendation as it is a wonderful example of what can be done to protect biodiversity when people and organisations work together – it could not have happened without the huge level of voluntary engagement from local community groups”.
The competition, which was first announced at the Urban Land Institute conference in Dublin last year sought to shortlist the best examples of Placemaking throughout the four provinces of Ireland and received a large number of entries from all over the country.