Several Dubliners have heavily criticised Dublin City Council’s decision to develop a white-water rafting centre on Spencer Dock, to the cost of approximately €22 million.

Plans for the centre were initially introduced in January, with Lord Mayor at the time Nial Ring throwing cold water on the plans, calling them a ‘white elephant’.

At a council meeting earlier this year, Cllr Ring said: “What’s the genesis of this? Whose baby is this? Who has decided the north inner city needs white-water rafting? I can’t honestly support it at this stage. I think it could be a white elephant.”

However, further plans were unveiled last week for the new centre, with construction set to begin in 2020. It is anticipated the project will take between 18 months to two years to complete.

Councillors voted at Monday’s monthly council meeting to give the plans the go-ahead, with 37 councillors voting for the plans, versus 19 voting against the project. Initially, councillors on the central area committee had already given plans the green light at November’s meeting.

The cost of the project was initially estimated at €12 million, but this has now doubled to approximately €22.8 million.

The original cost, the council say, been preliminary and had not included design or demolition fees, or VAT. The site of the white water rafting centre is at Spencer Dock, next to CHQ, where the emigration museum EPIC is located, and which used to play host to events such as Oktoberfest.

A promotional video showcasing the international-standard centre was unveiled on November 26, with many reacting negatively to the cost of the project, saying money should be spent on social housing, transport infrastructure and other public facilities such as libraries and swimming pools.

One person on Twitter referred to the plans as ‘peak Celtic Phoenix stuff’, whilst others are criticising the council for being ‘out of touch’ with Dubliners.

Many white-water rafting, rowing and kayaking clubs have all welcomed the plans, saying the centre will provide a world-class training facilities for existing water-sports enthusiasts, as well as a safe location for people to learn and be introduced to new sports.

The facility is also expected to be used for training by Dublin Fire Brigade.