According to the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the schedule to have the Dun Laoghaire Baths reopened to the public by this time, next year, is under threat.
Having been left abandoned since 1997, renovation on the baths began in June 2018.
Ever since, however, problems have arisen during the construction with thousands of plastic fibres being accidentally dumped into the sea and have since been found washed up on local beaches.
The contractors, SIAC and Mantovani have since committed to cleaning up the mess and have promised to stop the use of plastic shards in the build. The spillage occurred late last year.
Locals are complaining however that the plastic fibres are still being found in the waters around Sandycove.
“This is appalling. Not once but three times? Are these contractors inexperienced at major sea-based projects? If so, DLRCC should re-examine its tendering process. Worse still if the contractors are actually experienced,” said Helen Warinton in a recent Facebook post.
“The plastic shards are an ongoing story,” says local councillor, Patricia Stewart.
“Every time they think all the shards have been collected a new bunch can turn up, as recently in Sandycove. When that happens, the Contractors are alerted and they immediately send a team to do the clean up. This is happening less and less frequently.”
When asked whether or not the construction is still on schedule, both Councillor Stewart and Councillor Michael Merrigan said delays are to be expected on the reopening of the public amenity.
“The jury is out on the schedule but it is thought it will be completed Q2 or Q3 next year,” says Stewart.
“It is a very complex project and the works are only about a quarter completed – it is in the first part of the job that all the hidden difficulties come to light.
“For example, all the walls and sea supports are well past their concrete life-expectancy and were all found to be failing so a great deal of the work has been in rebuilding and supporting these structures.”
Phase one of the build includes a small café, public toilets, an artist studio space, new lifeguard facilities, an upgrade to the existing maritime gardens and a new jetty to provide access to the sea for swimmers, kayaks and canoes.
However, due to a lack of funding the inclusion of an outdoor bathing pool was omitted from the plans.
Councillor Cormac Devlin says that the construction of a swimming pool is still a possibility however saying that: “More recently I, along with my colleagues on the Council have sought answers from Council management about when and how much Phase II (which will include a public swimming/paddling facility) would cost.
“We are expecting a comprehensive response from management to these and other questions over the next few weeks.”