Local Update

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Clonsilla Road One-Way System: The Council are still dragging their heels on the opening of the one way system. Indications are that Fingal intend to appoint consultants to once more ‘look into it’ with the possibility of installing a bus gate so that only buses can use it two-ways. This seems surprising given how few buses use the road anymore.

Aldemere – Mount Symon Green Space: The Council have promised to examine this area with a view to installing bollards or other appropriate boundary treatments in response to complaints of cars being driven across the open space.

New Park At Beechpark Ready By Spring 2009: The Park behind Clonsilla Railway Station has now been substantially completed to include two new pitches, a new play facility, perimeter paths and car parking. Landscaping and tree planting will take place this winter with a view to opening to the public in Spring/Summer 2009.

Portersgate –Hansfield Road Parking Scheme: The Council say that the proposed parking scheme at Clonsilla Station and Portersgate will still be put to tender by the end of this year with work commencing in the spring. I am concerned that cut backs in expenditure could significantly delay the project. There is also a real need to roll out the scheme to address the problem of commuter parking in neighbouring estates and roads and this should be done now. We will continue to make representations to the Council on this.


Council bin service rejected by residents

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The 650 residents of the Fernleigh and Annfield estates in Carpenterstown have recently turned their backs on the waste disposal services of Fingal County Council and signed up with a private refuse collector – City Bin Co. Ltd. The deal which is worth over €120,000 per annum to the private operator has lead to some recriminations among local residents following the recent withdrawal from the estate by the county council.

The chairperson of the board of directors of the Fernleigh Management Company Ltd., Cathal O’Donoghue told Community Voice that the decision to change was made after much discussion by the board and following a detailed tendering process.

“We took the view that there were too many bins in the estate between green, black and brown bins and this also gave rise to hygiene issues,” he said “We also looked at the charge for the service and with the introduction of the new fixed annual charge on top of the cost of bin tags we felt that the county council service was too dear.”

Community Voice has seen the minutes of the annual general meeting of the management company at which the decision to move to a private operator was taken. A total of 25 residents out of a possible 650 attended the meeting.

At the meeting the board of directors which comprises the chairperson Mr. O’Donoghue and Mr. Don Hoban, advised members about the new annual charge and the introduction of brown bins into the estate. They said they were “concerned about this new system as it will increase charges for all owners and there will be 652 extra bins in the development which there is no room for.”

The management agents for the estate advised the meeting that they had received a number of views and letters from owners opposing the new system being proposed by the board. However after discussion the meeting agreed by 14 votes to 9 to enter into a contract with City Bin Company at an annual cost of €185 per dwelling, to be paid through the annual management fee.

A number of individual residents subsequently contacted Fingal County Council seeking a continuation of the local authority service. Initially the council wrote to residents offering to continue to collect their waste. However after subsequent legal advice they withdrew the offer and took back all bins previously supplied to residents.

According to a spokesperson for the county council, “although we would be happy to continue providing a waste management service to residents in Annfield and Fernleigh we have received legal advice confirming that the estates are private and therefore the Council are no longer entitled to provide a waste management service without the consent of the management company.

“For this reason all residents in those estates can now only avail of the service being offered by their management company through the managing agent and pay any charges which apply as directed by their managing agent. Fingal County Council has no involvement whatsoever in this arrangement,” said the spokesperson.

One issue raised by a couple of residents is the question of waivers for those unable to pay their refuse charges. Such waivers are available to users of the county council service but are generally not offered by private operators. However according to Mr. O’Donoghue, “my understanding is that a waiver agreement is available from City Bin Company.” However a spokesperson for City Bin Company has confirmed to Community Voice that it does not operate a waiver scheme.

The matter has been raised by local Fine Gael candidate Kieran Dennison who is seeking a council seat in next year’s local elections.

He has called on the council “to admit they’ve got it wrong on the bin charges and to introduce a fairer pricing system. At a conservative estimate the loss to the council of these two estates alone will be at least €150,000 per year. The Council simply cannot afford to lose this sort of revenue at a time when their income is already under pressure from a severe reduction in development levies and the 6.93% cut in Government funding in the Budget,” he said.


St. Mochtas School Extension Gets Go Ahead

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

At long last the Department of Education has agreed to allow the 16 classroom extension go to planning and tender as soon as possible.

St. Mochta’s had agreed to go from 2 streams to 4 streams to help solve the shortfall in school places so it would have been a terrible betrayal if the extension was not approved. While I welcome the news, the extension should include a community and sport facility similar to that in other schools in the area. Clonsilla Village needs a proper Community Centre. The recent Clonsilla Urban Strategy (Section 8.4) acknowledges the limitations of the two small halls in the village and that “Schools and community can combine to provide the necessary physical infrastructure”. This surely is an opportunity for the Council to live up to its own plan.


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