‘Canal greenway will destroy wildlife’ and harbour thugs’

by Sylvia Pownall

Fingal County Council has been urged to reconsider the proposed route for the Royal Canal Greenway amid claims that it will destroy wildlife habitats and encourage anti-social behaviour.

There have been calls for the local authority to publish a private draft report on the segment of the route between Castleknock and the Kildare boundary, and to extend the public consultation period.

By Tuesday of this week, the council had received more than 140 submissions on the proposal, but they are not available to view as is normally the case.

Labour Party representative John Walsh said while he acknowledged that the greenway would enhance a valuable amenity, he had concerns over the route.

He said: “The proposed route on the north side of the canal between Castleknock and Coolmine is damaging for the local environment and unacceptable to many local residents.”

Mr Walsh said more than 100 people attended a public meeting organised by the Labour Party where “a great deal of concern and anxiety was expressed” about the route.

He added: “It makes no sense to run a new bridge across the canal near the top of Roselawn Road and destroy established habitats and wildlife by major works on the north side of the canal, when there is an existing towpath which could be developed and extended on the south bank.

“The plan to open up existing cul de sacs by creating multiple access routes into residential estates was clearly prepared by consultants who knew nothing of local conditions and requirements.

“The proposal is destructive to the local wildlife corridor and creates an unacceptable risk of anti-social behaviour at these access points.”

Mr Walsh said the public had so far only seen a series of maps, adding: “This report should be published immediately … and the consultation period should be extended to give local residents more time to make submissions based on the fullest possible information.”

Fingal County Council is preparing the pedestrian and cycle route along the canal tow path in conjunction with the National Transport Authority and Waterways Ireland.

Drawings of the emerging preferred route have been on display since February 25 and the closing date for submissions is this Friday, March 22 at 4.30pm.

A council spokesperson told Dublin Gazette: “This is a non-statutory public engagement, so we are not obliged to make the submissions public at this stage.”

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