I am advised by the Commissioners of Public Works that the Ballymakeera-Ballyvourney scheme is at outline design stage where the preferred options of the scheme are being finalised.
As the River Sullane has a history of freshwater pearl mussels which have protected status as an annex II listed species under the EU habitats directive, an environmental survey was carried out to establish the status of the population and the likely impact of works. Given the impact the proposed works will have on the freshwater pearl mussel population, a solution to avoid damage had to be illustrated which was submitted to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. This submission has now been approved, which has allowed progress to be made to where site investigations will be carried out, with the results informing the preferred options of the scheme.
It is proposed to hold a second public information day, to be followed by a public exhibition of the preferred scheme in 2017. When these stages are successfully completed, the scheme can be progressed to detailed design stage and confirmation, following which, if considered viable, construction can commence. My office continues to liaise with Cork County Council and local representatives on the scheme.