Thursday 22 March 2018

More erosion to golf course

Emma Gallagher

Storm Eleanor hit the country with a bang and left Rosses Point reeling with more erosion to its sand dunes, which are encroaching further onto the world-famous golf course.

A huge area, going from the 14th fairway to the 17th, has been left damaged with more sand eroded from the Rosses Point coastline.

David O'Donovan, manager of Co Sligo Golf Club, said the damage stretches a huge distance.

"It's very, very severe on the second beach, the erosion covers a huge distance something between 500 and 600 metres along the dunes that are damaged.

"We've estimated about 2 metres was washed away all along that region, in one night that's huge and it's getting closer and closer to the golf course."

He said that there were red sticks placed around the dunes close to the 16th tee to measure what was left.

"These were strategically placed three feet in from the edge of the dunes and some were even washed away.

"There's been 2 feet lost in one section. It's alarming to say the least," David added. He said it was lucky that there was no wind but even the high tides on Thursday did so much damage.

"In fairness to Sligo County Council, they had issued warnings that this was the biggest tide this year, we were lucky there was no wind with the storm on Tuesday or there would have been huge damage.

"It's devastating for the beach too, the third beach has seen huge erosion, ground that has been reclaimed over the last 20 years."

David said people walking the beach should be aware for their safety.

"With the tide, the rocks have shifted, God forbid people walking are not aware of this. "People using the beach need to be wary of the dune area.

"There are people walking along and also golfers playing nearby and they should be aware that some of the rocks are unstable.

"It's about making it as safe as possible." In terms of the long-term solutions David said it's about looking at the best options for both the beach and golf course.

"We're in contact with Tom Kilfeather from the council on a regular basis about the best options. It's a blue flag beach and we want to retain that and protect the golf course too. "We're talking about what's the best solution.

"It's interesting to see Clare Co Council giving Donald Trump permission to carry out erosion works, we have that permission too but we are working with the engineers who are experts, we're not.

"The sand that's being washed away we can see is depositing in the bay, there is so much sand being shifted."

He said that coastal erosion works have been carried out on three different sections of the golf course over the last 30 years.

"Since the 2014 storm, we've needed to go back over the area and repair the damage that's been done.

"It's about making it safe for people walking and their security. We've replaced the signage but the tide keeps getting closer and closer," David added.

Sligo Champion