PLANS for a controversial jumbo cruise ship facility in Dun Laoghaire harbour will go on public view today.
The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) has lodged a planning application for the upgrade of the harbour with An Bord Pleanala at a cost of €100,000.
Prior to lodging the application, the company held a three-week public consultation period earlier this year. It said that 139 people made submissions - the vast majority of which (104) were opposed to the plans.
However in its application to the planning authority, the DLHC has said that most of the concerns expressed by people were based on misunderstandings about the plans.
The company prepared a response to these concerns addressing the most common issues, including the perception the plans would bring no economic benefit or would negatively impact on harbour users.
In a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement, the company proposed that there would be no major, lasting negative impact to the users or the environment of the harbour.
However it did acknowledge that the jumbo cruise ships would “have a significant impact on all existing views towards the harbour”.
“A proportion of existing harbour users may consider the sheer scale of the docked ship to be negative given that the vast majority of other vessels using the harbour are small by comparison,” it said.
“However such a vessel would not be out of character, particularly within such an expansive water body.
“Its presence also affirms the purpose of the harbour.”
“The scale and finish of the cruise ships provided for is impressive and could not generally be considered negative.”
The company predicts that the impact of the sight of the ships on the skyline will be
positive. Its effects on most views of the bay will range from slight to significant, said the report.
The company proposes that the plans will bring a big economic benefit to the seaside town.
Over 20 years it is hoped it will bring up to 250 jobs and generate up to between €16m and €41m for the town.
The application is for an eight-year permission to develop a berth capable of accommodating “next generation cruise ships”. Works are estimated to take 15 months to complete.
On the land side, a new pedestrian footpath, a new boardwalk, feature lighting and a coach facility are proposed.
Additional upgrades of pedestrian links to the town is also proposed under a separate project.
The works also include significant dredging of the harbour and the construction of a turning facility.
In the application it is highlighted that the required dredging is just 10pc of that needed to build a similar facility in Dublin Port.
All documents relevant to the application can be accessed online at www.dlcruiseplan.ie