Tuesday 10 December 2019

Permission for €22m white water rafting facility approved by Dublin City Council

The white water rafting facility proposed for the Dublin Docklands.
The white water rafting facility proposed for the Dublin Docklands.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Dublin City Councillors have given the green light to construct a new state-of-the-art €22m white-water rafting course in Dublin's Docklands.

Representatives of Dublin City Council voted in favour last night on the proposed site at George’s Dock on the North quays, beside the IFSC.

The motion passed by a majority of 37 votes to 19.

However, not everyone was in favour of the ambitious project.

Director of Inner City Helping Homeless Anthony Flynn described the proposal as “crazy” given that Ireland is in the middle of a housing crisis.

“When this was first proposed to us, the council had estimated that it would cost €12m,” he said.

“Now, it has risen to an astronomical €22m and who is to say that it won’t increase further?

“The council also wants this to be built in 18 months, but we can’t even build houses that fast.

“I just find it unbelievable that DCC can splash out this much money on a facility when there are thousands of people without a home. They’re completely out of touch with reality and it seems all these decisions are being forced down councillors throats,” he said.

The €22m facility includes a simulated white-water slalom course and flat pool that can be used for rafting, kayaking and canoeing.

It is intended to be a major tourist attraction, but will also be used as a water rescue training facility for Dublin Fire Brigade and visiting fire brigades from around the world.

Other city councillors have given their support to the development with former Lord Mayor Christy Burke describing the current barren basin as an ugly site.

"It reminds you of a huge open grave that’s just left there. So I welcome this with open arms,” he said.

Cllr Hazel Chu believes a white-water rafting facility could be an excellent amenity for the city.

However, she described the massive cost increase as ludicrous. 

“The sum has nearly doubled in the space of several weeks, and the thought of it increasing another ten or 20 million is very concerning.

“However, DCC have said it will source the some of the money through different avenues and sources at no additional cost to them,” she said.  

Sports and community clubs, including Canoeing Ireland, have said the facility would be very welcome and would be the first of its kind here.

The facility would take about 18 months to build and would take over the now vacant space beside the Epic Immigration Museum.

The venue formerly housed a yearly Christmas market as well as the annual Oktoberfest which had taken place there for nine years before it was cancelled this year due to concerns over rising insurance costs.

But the cost of the project at a time when Dublin City Council has been forced to raise local commercial rates by almost 3pc as well as increase the cost of on-street parking and tolls at the East Link bridge, has raised some eyebrows.

Dublin Fire Brigade also weighed in on the positive impact it would have for national water and flood rescue for fire services, civil defence, and other emergency services.

It said it will act as “an excellent water rescue training site, with multiple features and configurations facilitating the effective and safe execution of all water rescue syllabus requirements”.

Once the facility is open to the public, it will operate from early morning until around 10pm at night, with part of the daily timetables blocked out for fire and emergency services training.

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