RESIDENTS AND BUSINESS owners in Clontarf have said their community will be “blindfolded” if a controversial flood defence plan, which includes an eight-foot-high wall along the promenade, goes ahead.
Following a mobilisation of residents’ and business associations, local councillors are moving to block the advancement of what they call the “insane” plans.
Councillor Damian O’Farrell has called on the city manager to postpone any action on the scheme.
Although he is still waiting on a formal response to his Section 140 application, O’Farrell said city manager John Tierney has given a two-week stay on the signing of any contracts allowing for construction of the wall along the 3km Clontarf Promenade to begin next year.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, O’Farrell said that the postponement is an admission that there has not been a proper consultation about the scheme.
Residents and business owners in Clontarf have blamed a “flawed consultation process” for the lack of formal objections when the plan was first tabled in 2006.
“This is like blindfolding the community. This plan has been sprung us and we strongly object to it. This proposed mound, the height of an average ceiling in a house, will block our beautiful sea views changing the landscape forever. We will be coming up with alternatives,” said Deirdre Tobin, chairperson of the Clontarf Residents Association.
“If implemented, the sea view in Clontarf will be eliminated and pedestrians and joggers using the pathway close to the sea will not be able to see the road which produces its own potential security risk,” she added.
Dublin City Council said that a full public consultation was carried out between 2006 and 2007. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was also submitted to An Bord Pleanála with notices of the same advertised in the national press.
In a statement, the council said, “It should be noted that the EIS took full account of all aspects of the project including the visual impact of the flood defence structures. The EIS, set out the proposed height of the flood defences as being between 0.85m and 2.75m (average height 1.7m).”
However, Cllr. O’Farrell said the public meetings were held outside the affected area and consultations were with groups that he – nor the residents’ associations – have ever heard of.
Despite claims by the local council, Clontarf Residents’ Association says it did not receive any correspondence in relation to the project.
Tobin told TheJournal.ie that the association held a brief meeting with an engineer and following that visit, they believed the maximum height of the wall would be 1.2m and not the 2.5m as now planned.
Dublin City Council added the height of the wall is determined by the flood risk and relevant national standards. Landscaping will also be used where possible to minimise the impact and “retain the character of the Clontarf sea front”.
“There will be some loss of visual amenity,” a spokesperson for the council conceded.
There have been four major floods in recent years in the area and some insurance companies have threatened to withdraw flood cover for about 3,000 homes and businesses if permanent defence plans are not put in place.
Dublin City Council has spent between €70,000 and €100,000 to mobilise limited temporary defences at multiple times since 2002.
The Clontarf Business Association said that there is a need for protection against flooding but argued that alternative proposals should be considered.
On Monday, about 160 residents and business owners came together at a hastily convened meeting to discuss the issue.
Tobin said despite the short notice there has been a swell of support from people in the area, with hundreds of online objections noted.
A council meeting has been called this afternoon to allow for more information to be given to local groups.
There will be a protest held at Wooden Bridge, Sunday 16 October at 3pm
Follow the Clontarf Residents’ Association on Twitter @clontarfRA #Clontarf #ProtestOnTheProm