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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 16 December, 2019
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Councillors vote in favour of €22 million white-water rafting facility in Dublin's IFSC

Dublin Fire Brigade addressed Councillors in the council chamber this evening.

Image: Dublin City Council

THE PROPOSED NEW white-water rafting facility in Dublin’s IFSC is to go ahead after almost two-thirds of councillors from Dublin City Council threw their support behind it at a meeting this evening. 

The proposal had already been given the green light by councillors on the central area committee following an initial vote held last month. 

The facility will now move another step closer after a majority, 63% of councillors, announced their support for the plans at tonight’s sitting of all elected members of the council. 

Last week, TheJournal.ie published a first look at what the facility will look like when it’s completed at George’s Dock – which previously hosted events like Oktoberfest and Christmas markets – at the IFSC area in the centre of Dublin.

Construction is expected to get underway in the new year and will take between 18 months to two years to complete.

The white-water course is designed for use as a tourist attraction and by sports clubs but will also be made available to Dublin Fire Brigade and other emergency services as a training resource. It is expected to draw thousands of visitors on an annual basis.

The estimated costs of the development has come in at €22 million and will be funded through a combination of grants and council funding. 

The rise in the cost of the project, originally costed at €12 million, sparked concern about the viability of the project. Derek Kelly, Docklands Area Manager, explained that the initial figure cited earlier this year excluded the design team fee, cost of developing two new buildings, and VAT.

“I’m happy that as we stand the figure is robust… we’re working on €22.8 million all in, including design fees,” he said. 

The current costing includes these omissions as well as the cost of developing a water treatment plant which was not part of the plans originally. 

Kelly said a minimum of 36,000 visitors per year is expected to attend and that the facility will become profitable in the second year of operation. 

Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) has supported the plans from the outset, and said this type of facility has proved to be invaluable for other emergency services around the world, including emergency services in parts of the UK and in New York. 

Speaking to council members tonight, Greg O’Dwyer, Senior Officer at DFB reiterated the benefits of the facility to emergency services nationwide.  

“Two things we need for training, and two of our biggest concerns, are water quality and water quantity. Water quality is a health and safety issue and we have had a number of people taking ill on courses so we have to stop using the upper Liffey area,” he said. 

“All our rivers are spate, therefore, if we don’t have significant rainfall we don’t have the water quantity to run the course.

“This facility will give us two big advantages. Once the quality of the water will be guaranteed for our members, they won’t be getting ill from training… we will also have the required amount of water we need and when we need it.”

Kayaking and canoe clubs weighed in during the public consultation stage of the planning process with many saying this type resource is unheard of in Ireland at present leaving many clubs travelling to facilities abroad. 

David Henry, of the Silver Bridge Kayak Club said: “I am a recreational kayaker and in the past have had to travel to Britain to avail of similar facilities in preparation for expeditions further afield.”

“Such a scheme would be invaluable for local and national recreational water-sport users, youth clubs, scouting, kayak clubs, and most importantly, our athletes who regularly travel to Europe to train for international events,” he added. 

Councillors were provided with a full 37-page report about the facility ahead of tonight’s meeting. That report recommended it should go to a vote of all councillors sitting on Dublin City Council for approval. 

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