Deputy Michael Lowry has today confirmed that a tender has been accepted and funding sanctioned for Templemore Flood Relief Scheme. This is a very significant and welcome project which will eliminate future flooding and give an economic boost to the local economy during it’s construction phase.
The flooding incidents over many years in Templemore led to financial loss, personal hardship and inconvenience. The people who endured that trauma live in fear and trepidation of a reoccurrence. Since this Government was formed I have been in regular contact with the relevant authorities insisting that this project be given priority. After many years of slow progress and sporadic movement with a number of false dawns I am delighted that we now have clarity and certainty.
The overall cost of the project including design fees, construction, property compensation, and environmental mitigation measures is €10.2 million.
The Scheme was formally submitted for Confirmation to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in August 2016.
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has now formally confirmed the Scheme. The Minister with responsibility for the OPW Sean Canney T.D., has confirmed to me that works will commence early June with an estimated 2 year completion period. A property on Church Avenue, Templemore has been purchased for use as site office and project management.
Deputy Lowry stated the town of Templemore which lies on the River Mall has a long history of severe flooding. Flood events with enormous consequences for homes and businesses have occurred in December 1968, November 2000, October 2004, February 2014 and December 2015 .
In 2006 the Office of Public Works (OPW) was requested by North Tipperary County Council to address the flooding problem in Templemore, which resulted in the Design Section of OPW undertaking a pre-feasibility study involving a preliminary investigation of the problem which showed that a flood relief scheme was technically possibly and economically viable. A full feasibility study was then undertaken and the outline design of a scheme was completed.
This scheme was initially exhibited in February 2009, following which progression of the scheme was put on hold. Consideration was then given to a design option for an alternative route for the diversion channel which would necessitate the purchase and demolition of a garage premises which housed an on-going business. This option emerged after the exhibition had taken place. When it became apparent that the new business owner was open to negotiations, the scheme design was amended to reflect a route through the property, utilising an open channel as opposed to the originally proposed culverts. The route alteration through this business was considered to be environmentally, economically, and technically superior to the originally exhibited route.
Discussions have taken place with the new owner of the property who has indicated full awareness of the requirements of the scheme and a willingness to deal reasonably with the OPW in facilitating the works.
A further refinement of the scheme involved removal of a portion of works north of Blackcastle Road which will now be undertaken by Tipperary County Council with funding on application provided by OPW under Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme.
The final approved scheme will now consist of:
• A 70m-long inlet channel starting in the Mall River just downstream of Abbey Cottage.
• A new outflow from the lake to run under Blackcastle Road to the inlet channel.
• A defence line north of the town with Debris and Gravel Traps.
• River relocation consisting of a channel diversion by constructing a new 750m long channel (with a 7.5m base-width) that begins in Short’s field and finishes 230m downstream of Small’s Bridge. As this new channel will operate all the time, its environmental needs are different to those of a traditional diversion, so in order to aid fish movement a thalweg (fish channel) will be incorporated, and there are no long culverts, unlike the proposals exhibited in 2009.
• 77 residential and 27 non-residential properties and the local road infrastructure in the town will be protected by the scheme.
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared which covers the environmental and social issues linked to the flood alleviation scheme and suitable mitigation measures have been suggested. These will be implemented during construction in order to minimise the short and long term environmental impacts. In addition to benefiting the community the scheme also provides an enhanced environment for local flora and fauna. No significant loss of habitat will result from the Scheme. Construction will be planned and executed carefully, ensuring minimal damage to the environment and minimal nuisance during the construction works.
Dr. Martin O’Grady, one of the country’s leading fisheries mitigation experts was engaged by OPW to liaise with Inland Fisheries Ireland, and has come up with mutually acceptable mitigation and enhancement measures for the proposed new channel.