West Cork came up triumphs this year with Clonakilty scooping four awards at the 2016 Community and Council Awards hosted by IPB Insurance and LAMA. The awards were presented at a gala night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin last Saturday night.
Cork County Council nominated seven projects across the county this year.
Clonakilty Wastewater Treatment Plant took first in its category for ‘Most Significant Contribution to Water Quality’. Originally constructed in 1987 for a design population equivalent of 5,333 people, treatment was provided by way of conventional extended aeration and in recent years the plant had become grossly overloaded. A facility with significantly higher capacity was required and a revolutionary treatment technology called ‘Nereda’ was identified as the solution to meet the challenges posed. The new plant took first flows in May 2015.
Clonakilty Cycle Scheme had a double on the night in the ‘Best Community Based Initiative’ and in the ‘Grand Prix’ category for ‘Outstanding Excellence’. The scheme is the first rural bicycle scheme in Ireland. It allows locals and visitors to access bicycles in a convenient and cheap manner. It promotes sustainability and tourism in the community of Clonakilty. The system is highly innovative and replaceable so it is hoped it will spread to other communities in West Cork.
Fernhill House Hotel and Gardens in Clonakilty were also award winners, coming first in the ‘Best Business Working with the Community’ category. Fernhill House has been contributing to the community in West Cork for four generations. It gets involved in community groups, runs an annual breast cancer walk and donates thousands to charity and it has been named Irelands most community minded and medium sized business.
Chairman of Cork County Councils Western Division, councillor Declan Hurley said, “These annual awards, which are now in their tenth year, recognise and celebrate the work and achievements of communities and county councils working together.
“They provide a great opportunity to highlight and celebrate the work done within our communities, to reward our many unsung heroes and recognise the phenomenal contribution they’ve made to our lives and communities.
“These awards are a clear indication of what can be achieved when community volunteerism is encouraged and supported at local government level,” concluded Cllr. Hurley.