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Call for council to build heated outdoor pool instead of white-water rafting facility at George's Dock

The cost of the rafting project has grown from an initial estimate of €12 million to €25 million and it has been met with considerable opposition.

Brockwell Lido in London.
Brockwell Lido in London.
Image: Shutterstock

THERE ARE FRESH calls for Dublin City Council to scrap plans for a white-water rafting facility at George’s Dock with campaigners now calling for the council to build a public outdoor swimming facility instead.

Designed for use as a tourist attraction and by sports clubs, the white-water rafting facility would also be made available to Dublin Fire Brigade and other emergency services as a training resource. 

The cost of the project has grown from an initial estimate of €12 million to €25 million and the proposed facility has been met with considerable opposition.

A petition with almost 3,000 signatures so far is calling on the council to instead use the space for a large, public, outdoor swimming facility that would be accessible to all. 

Organisers of the petition gave a number of examples of similar facilities in cities in Europe and across the world. These included the London Fields Lido – a heated pool – in Hackney and Brockwell Lido near Brixton, which are both 50m outdoor pools, open all year round.

They pointed out that there are currently no publicly-accessible, open-air swimming pools in Dublin and that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of using public outdoor spaces as meeting points and for exercise. 

Source: Change.org

Organisers said the needs of inner city residents and families have not been catered for in the plans for the white-water rafting facility and they said public opinion is against the proposal. 

They also argue that a ‘lido’ makes financial sense as daily users would be a large multiple of anything at a white-water rafting facility and the cost per use could be €5-€10 per person.

Last year Dublin City Council proposed plans for a €15 million floating swimming pool on the River Liffey, which campaigners said is “a bad idea” because it would change the character of the Liffey quays and narrow the waterway. 

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“Given the unique historic setting of George’s Dock, with the right design, the George’s Dock Lido could become a truly exceptional municipal asset for Dublin,” they said.

“Citizen voices should be heard and a public consultation explored.”

Earlier this year Dublin City Council hit out at  “hostile” commentary surrounding plans for the white-water rafting facility.

It wrote to elected members and explained the various benefits of the project, which will include a swift water rescue training centre, a white-water rafting course for rafting and canoeing, a flat-water training facility and two new buildings to facilitate these activities. 

Council representative Derek Kelly told councillors that it was also essential given the increase in severe weather flooding events that the local authority and other emergency services staff “can train for these events in controlled conditions with no water quality issues”.

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