Dublin City Council has denied any wrongdoing in its new plans for the College Green Plaza project in a reply to independent Cllr Mannix Flynn, who claimed the process amounts to a “project split and salami slice” of the project.
As IrishCycle.com reported in September, the new plan will include the removal of motor traffic from College Green and Dame Street to start incrementally in 2023, ahead of a full redesign.
Cllr Mannix Flynn asked for the “Chief Executive to outline in full detail DCC’s plans on how they intend to proceed with the plaza project at College Green and Dame Street. Further, can the
CEO confirm that he intends to project split and salami slice this public domains initiative?”
He added: “Also, can the CEO explain how he personally with others got the procurement process and tendering process of this project so wrong? Which further damaged the credibility of DCC local authority to deliver this project.”
In a reply published ahead of the council’s monthly meeting, the council’s Chief Executive, Owen Keegan, said “The College Green project will shortly be out to tender for the appointment of a Design Team in order to bring the project through the various phases including construction of
the public realm plaza. There is no project splitting proposed instead a separate process will take place to increase space for pedestrians in line with the implementation of Bus Connects network redesign proposals. As requirements for bus routes and stops decrease, the proposed interim measures will be focused on traffic management changes and not permanent public realm changes.”
“The procurement of this project is fully in line with all necessary procurement regulations. The unfortunate rejection of the initial College Green Plaza proposal by ABP meant that a comprehensive review of the project had to be undertaken,” he said.
“As part of this review, an independent consultant produced a Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) of five options including the recommendations of the ABP inspector. The MCA selected two options, which comprised extending the area of the scheme to George’s Street. The public consultation on these options showed overwhelming support for a fully pedestrianised plaza to George’s Street incorporating a two-way cycle track,” said Keegan.
Keegan said: “Following this, the original Design Team were asked to provide an estimate for the required additional work. A submission was duly received and evaluated by the City Architects. Unfortunately, while the submission was of high quality, the cost of this additional work would have breached EU procurement limits and legal advice on this matter was sought. The advice received indicated that the City Council could not accept the submission and that a derogation from the procurement rules could not be obtained.”
He added: “The only viable option was to retender the scheme. This is now underway with the necessary NTA approvals having been received to proceed to tender.”