Thursday 21 November 2019

Burrow Road by-laws divisive topic for councillors

Cathy Lee at Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District meeting

Engineer Neville Shaw said that from meeting held with interested parties, that the objective of Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District should be enhancing and embracing the Burrow road as an amenity rather than closing people off to it.

He also suggested some development ideas such as having a promenade or even opening up the area of the cricket pitch to legal camping.

Cllr Byrne said that the aim is to make the area safer and more secure but director of services Eddie Taaffe asked what exact problems were the members trying to solve.

'It's a fabulous facility but we need to be blunt about this and speak our minds. There are a couple of pot holes and bits and pieces but the main problem doesn't happen at this time of year, it's the illegal camping and the parking of camper vans,' said Cllr Devereux.

'The rest of the year we see retired people, children and dogs use the area and that's what it was built for. We need to be blunt about this, these people coming in the old cricket pitch, wrecking it, setting fire to the place and leaving loads of rubbish and intimidating residents and people that use the resource. This problem destroyed business here, those who have just three to four months of business at best down here.

'If we spend a fortune redesigning the road, that's not going to stop any of that. I would rather see our money going in to preventing access to what is attracting them in the first place,' he said.

Cllr Ó'Súilleabháin agreed, highlighting the occasion and himself and Cllr Devereux met residents during a meeting in July.

'Don't block locals, block these people from camping down there, this was unanimous from that meeting,' he said.

The case of alleged sexual assault on minors was mentioned during the discussion.

'Next July and August, these people are going to arrive again and destroy this resort like they did this year. We can't as a council let 2020 come in without doing something,' said Cllr Devereux.

Cllr Mary Farrell suggested the Morriscastle Strand Holiday as model for open camping, which was agreed with Cllr Byrne.

'It's a summer problem but we do need to prevent all those parked vans. I agree with Mary and suggest we meet with the community section and talk about developing a proper camping or glamping site, it would make a lot of sense,' he said.

Cllr Devereux pointed out that any of these development plans would not be finished in the space of four or five months time.

'People who'll pay to stay in a municipal camping site are not these type of people, we have to stop walking on eggshells. Local councillors know exactly what I'm talking about.

'Wexford County Council are expected to come down and clean up after them and spend a fortune on roads. At least for next year, is there any way that we could just prevent them from putting their tents up, fence off land etc,' he asked.

Councillors agreed that preventing access to the Burrow road punishes the wrong people.

Answering Cllr Devereux, director of services Eddie Taaffe said that in the short answer, fencing off is impossible.

'It destroys it as an amenity and you're punishing the wrong people. If it's illegal camping and anti social behaviour that's the problem, that becomes an enforcement issue rather than an engineering problem,' he said.

Cllr Byrne pointed out that the Burrow road area would not be an amenity if what happened last summer would be allowed to continue and this led on to a discussion on bylaws.

Councillors were told that there are beach bylaws in place, and Cllr Breen said that before deciding on what bylaws to set, that they should get legal advice.

'We can't just make up laws of our own, we need to see what is viable and possible,' he said.

District Manager Michael Drea said that there has been positive cooperation from the community warden and the Gardaí.

'Anyone who was of a mind to move on, did move on quickly and anyone else, we got cooperation from Gardai. These incidents, although serious, are isolated,' he said.

It was decided that public submissions around bylaws would be invited, and that there would be a formal consultation process with the public and businesses.

Cllr Byrne set the February meeting as a target so that new bylaws would be in operation by Easter in time for the season.

Cllr Donohoe suggested that barriers could be put on the Burrow road as a fall back position and Cllr Ó'Súilleabháin said that bylaws around casual drinking in public would help.

Concerned councillors heard that Gardaí will regulate public drinking at their discretion.

Gorey Guardian