White water facility floated again for Dock area

by Rose Barrett
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A media report earlier this week stated the contentious proposals for the White Water Rafting Project were back in the planning arena for the Docklands area, writes Rose Barrett.

While  Cllr Nial Ring (Ind for North Inner City LEA) stated he sincerely hoped this ‘folly’ was truly dead in the water – Dublin City Council has confirmed that “a partial commencement notice” including quayside offices for the council and a water sports facility had indeed been submitted.

“I would be absolutely astounded if a new plan for a whitewater facility is being suggested for George’s Dock again! The original folly was met with huge opposition, especially at a local level where there was absolutely no consultation with either the local community or local councillors.

“We assumed that this project was drowned out, and if it is being suggested again, I will certainly be opposing it as will many of my fellow councillors and the local community.”

After expansive plans – costing up to €2m – were mooted by DCC for a whitewater rafting facility at George’s Dock, strenuous opposition was voiced across the political landscape.  Suggestions for a public ‘lido’ and general water sports facility followed but all were shot down, leaving council planners with a headache.  

 However, Dublin City Council has confirmed to the Gazette: “A partial commencement notice has been lodged in respect of planning application ref. 3833/19 for works at Custom House Quay, Dublin 1. This planning application included proposal for development at both Georges Dock and the Old Docklands Office at Custom House Quay. DCC has previously confirmed that Georges Dock White Water Rafting Centre is not progressing.

“DCC has appointed a contractor in respect of the works only at the Custom House Quay as follows – demolition of an existing council building along the River Liffey and replacement with two new quayside buildings and a new boardwalk. New Quayside Building West footprint is approximately 275m2 which will provide a new DCC Docklands office. The new Quayside Building East footprint is approximately 655m2. at Custom House Quay, Dublin 1 and will provide a new DCC Water Sports Facility.”

Previous lido plans were designed by Chris Romer-Lee of Studio Octopi, and included a 50-metre, all-year round heated pool, a learner pool, diving boards, saunas, public seating across water gardens, a restaurant, café, community function rooms, and viewing gallery.

But while the plans fell awash of elected representatives, the lido campaigners indicated that the group intended to revisit the design and produce a more realistic, achievable plan that would appeal to the local community while bringing a tourist and regeneration aspect close to the Custom House, which has become an unsafe area at night, rife with anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Mannix Flynn (Ind) was particularly scathing about the high flying upmarket aspect of the development which didn’t entail a living, community provision. He said the Docklands was rich in office blocks and businesses but not in residential homes or apartments. After evening time, the area has become unsafe and DCC should concentrate on regenerating for the local community.

Other councillors criticised the extravagance of the proposals when the area is rife with homelessness.

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