Waterways Ireland “missed the boat” to provide a new canoe trail this summer, according to a local councillor.
Councillor Pat Burke expressed disappointment that the proposed Lough Derg Canoe Trail, which was supposed to start with preliminary works last spring, will not be completed in time for this year’s high tourist season.
He had asked Clare County Council and Waterways Ireland to provide an up-to-date progress report on the planned toilet, shower block and canoe storage facilities at Dromaan and Mountshannon Harbours in East Clare.
“Waterways Ireland has missed the boat for the 2016 summer season. We were told previously that work would commence in the springtime; now works will not begin until the end of August. It will be next summer before anyone will be able to avail of this canoe trail,” he said.
The Lough Derg Canoe Trail project is an initiative of the Lough Derg Marketing Group and is being funded under the Lough Derg Stimulus Fund.
Waterways Ireland has agreed to lead the design and development of the project, in partnership with the relevant local authorities. Planning permission has been secured for all sites in Clare, Tipperary and Galway. The relevant sites in Clare are in Killaloe, Ballycuggeran, Scarrif Harbour, Mountshannon Harbour and Dromaan Harbour.
According to senior executive officer with Clare County Council, Monica Meehan, tenders were due to be submitted last month and it is hoped that a contractor will be appointed by mid-August, with works to commence by the end of the month. She said the contract duration will be approximately 15 weeks from the commencement date.
The sites in Killaloe and Scarrif Harbour are in the ownership of Waterways Ireland. The proposed works at Canal Bank, Killaloe include trail information signage and an upgrade of the existing slipway.
The proposed works at the Mill Yard, Killaloe and Ballycuggeran include trail information signage, a canoe storage rack and planting/screening of same. The works to Scarrif Harbour include trail information signage, a canoe storage rack and screening and the installation of a new floating landing/launching step.
The works at Mountshannon include trail information signage, a canoe storage rack and screening and the
refurbishment of the existing service block. Dromaan Harbour will see the provision of trail information signage, a canoe storage rack and screening and the construction of a new three-unit service block and holding tank.
Ms Meehan said the council owns the sites at Ballycuggeran, Mountshannon and Dromaan.
By Dan Danaher