Why is Dublin City Council spending “crazy money” on even considering the idea of a developing an international standard white-water rapids rafting circuit and polo pool for the city’s docklands? asks Dubliner Mary D'Arcy.
In a hard-hitting submission over the plan Ms D'Arcy contends “whoever thinks this is a priority for the city needs their head examined”.
She argues that the city council has much more obvious priorities on its agenda such as dealing with the housing crisis; the creation of green spaces and insurance costs that are manageable for business.
Ms D’Arcy, who lives in Dublin 8, rounds off her submission by stating that rather than considering the white water rafting plan “Please fix the pothole that I nearly killed myself by cycling on today first!”
Another Dubliner, Nigel Clarke of Ranelagh has told the Council that he strongly objects to the plan for George’s Dock.
In his objection, Mr Clarke states: “There is no evidence of demand for a white water rafting facility.”
Mr Clarke argues that the complexity of the project will likely lead to long term costs for the Council.
He states that “there is no economic analysis done on the viability of this project, its long-term costs and how it can be met.”
The two echo the concerns of then-Lord Mayor, Cllr Niall Ring who in January cautioned “I think it could be a white elephant” when the Council first proposed the plan.
However, with a new political make up of the Council after the local elections, the Council has returned with its plan formally lodging a Part 8 application that will require the support of the councillors to pass.
A mobilisation of the canoeing community has ensured that the vast majority of submissions are in favour of the plan while it also receives the support of Fáilte Ireland and local body, the Docklands Oversight and Consultative Forum (DOFC).
The Mullingar Canoe Club, Trim Canoe Club, Secretary, David Henry of the Silver Bridge Kayak Club along with individual canoeists and kayakers have offered their support for the project.
The chairman of the Docklands Oversight and Consultative Forum (DOCF) Michael Stubbs has also offered the forum’s support for the plan.
In a submission on behalf of the forum, Mr Stubbs states that the benefit to the local community of having world class facility such as the one proposed for George’s Quay “cannot be over-stated”.
He stated that it will provide young people from the area to get involved in a sport that is now an Olympic discipline.
Mr Stubbs stated that “George’s Quay has suffered from a lack of appropriate use over the past number of years and as a result the Dock has fallen into a state of disrepair.”
He says that the re-imagining of the space is welcomed by the DOFC “as it will bring a water-based activity back to this important piece of Docklands industrial heritage”.
Fáilte Ireland has written to the Council to offer its support for the plan.
Environmental and Planning Manager with Fáilte Ireland, Shane Dineen has told the Council that the proposal “has the potential to be a motivating visitor experience that encourages visitors to stay longer in the area by adding to the range of things to do and see in Dublin’s Docklands”.
Mr Dineen states that the plan “could also deliver an attraction that could be appealing to both our overseas and domestic visitors”.
Mr Dineen also points out that the project will provide an ‘anchor’ facility for the ongoing enhancement of all water sports and leisure use along the River Liffey.
Documents lodged with the planning application on behalf of Dublin City Council state that the application site is an excellent example of the re-use of a brownfield site with former water features that are not being used to anywhere near their potential.
The application states that the proposal provides a significantly improved recreational facility in an area where there are relatively few sporting or recreational facilities in a sustainable location.
The documents state that the proposal is expected to be used by the local community including community groups and schools and will be of significant benefit to the north inner city.