The Courtown Community Council (CCC) described the decision to use Water World liquidation funds to build a new trail as “a scandal”.
acting on the motion passed at the last municipal district meeting of Gorey Kilmuckridge, CCC chairwoman Linda Sinnott accused Wexford County Council (WCC) of reneging on its previous commitment to use the funds to buy Courtown Woods.
In a letter sent to the cathaoirleach district, Cllr Pip Breen, seen by this newspaper, the CCC states: acres of forest protected for the use and enjoyment of our local community and visitors to the area for the future ”has been achieved . We request an update on the WCC’s progress in honoring this motion.
“Gorey Courtown Forest Park Ltd (a registered charity) previously owned both Courtown Woods and Courtown Leisure Center,” the letter continued. “Since the Courtown Community Council is the only other local charity representing the community, we asked for a full financial breakdown surrounding the sale and liquidation of this WCC charity. Unfortunately, these requests were denied on the grounds that a “non-disclosure agreement” was signed with the new Active Tribe owners. Liquidators Baker Tilly have confirmed that this nondisclosure agreement does not extend to Wexford County Council and their role as creditors in the liquidation.
Ms Sinnott went on to say that she had already received “personal assurances” from the Director General of WCC that “once the liquidation process was completed, WCC would attempt to purchase the lumber with the product they received in. as creditors during the liquidation. By CPO if necessary.
However, at the city district meeting, Mr Enright said there was never any commitment that the county council would buy the timber.
“It was always seen as the board was selling the land – we didn’t own the land, it was owned by one company, it is now owned by another company,” Enright said at the meeting.
Arguing that there are “ample sources of funding” ahead to complete the connected trail, Ms Sinnot said the council’s decision was “a scandal” and made “absolutely no sense”.
She accused the council of ignoring “the fact that this forest is one of the last 0.02% of Ireland’s last remaining native forests” and wondered why, with the exception of Cllr Ó Súilleabháin, the others Elected members did not support those 10,000 signatures on the community council’s petition by choosing to use the liquidation proceeds to “keep Courtown Woods in public ownership.”
For his part, Cllr Ó Súilleabháin reiterated his desire to see the Courtown to Gorey trail completed but, as he argued at the district meeting, not at the expense of the woods.
“I think this (the trail) should be done through grants such as the Active Travel Program, the ORIS (Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Program) program as well as the councils’ own resources – not by the proceeds from the sale of Courtown Woods to a private company as is currently the case, ”he said.
Referring to the 10,000 signatures collected by the CCC, Cllr Ó Súilleabháin said any development in the Courtown / Riverchapel area should meet the wishes of the local community.
“The facts are that 3 to 4 million euros of public money have been spent on this project over the years,” he added. “It included decades of hard work and local fundraising by so many local people, with the project then being managed for the people by a local community trust company. In addition, we were assured that even if we could not stop the liquidation process at this point, the option of the board buyout could be ‘explored’ after the sale as the least worst option in order to keep these woods. historical in confidence. for the people. We were told on Tuesday that this would not represent “good economic value” that council members agreed to.
“What economic value can we place on the 1,500-year-old high Kilbride Cross at Courtown Woods? What monetary value can you place on native oaks and rare species that were mature and standing long before the rebellion of 1798? Why in this country do we feel it is good to privatize our national treasures? Let’s call a spade a spade and admit that we seem to have long lost our soul as a people if we see nothing wrong with it. “
Courtown Community Council has also raised concerns about the proposed route of the trail and the impact it will have on the woods.
“We believe that the current proposed route of the Courtown / Riverchapel trail to Gorey is not at all suitable for local residents. The proposed route through Courtown Woods increases the travel time for pedestrians. It also presents issues of personal safety and policing. We believe that local residents attempting to walk the 6.5 km to Gorey will continue to endanger themselves by taking the current more direct route through the existing road bridge, making the proposed road and bridge completely unnecessary. as infrastructure.
In requesting a full environmental impact assessment from the top of Brickyard Hill, CCC asked the cathaoirleach to ensure that “a consultation with the local community takes place and that residents have a say.”