Home » Breaking News » Residents bid to block facilities for water sports in Kilkee

Residents bid to block facilities for water sports in Kilkee

TWO Kilkee residents have poured cold water on plans by Fáilte Ireland and Clare County Council to locate WC, shower and changing rooms facilities for water-based activities in the town.

Serious questions have been raised in an objection lodged with An Bord Pleanála about the proposed location of this development and whether there has been a proper assessment of alternative sites or the use of existing buildings.

The submission by Michael Nolan, solicitor and his wife, Mary O’Dowd, East End, Kilkee claimed no evidence has been produced that there is a need for the proposed facility.

Their submission also states that the site selection is incorrect, unsuitable and contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

They further claim there are more than sufficient facilities already in existence, both in terms of existing buildings and alternative sites, if it is accepted at all that the proposal is acceptable.

This development is based on a proposal from Fáilte Ireland for the development of an Activity Facility Centre and in December 2020 the council was invited to formally nominate a site.

The submission asked whether there was evidence of need for such a facility, or if there was such evidence, it had not been mentioned anywhere in the papers.

It questioned whether Fáilte Ireland or the council had any legal basis to make this application in the absence of a formal declaration or resolution.

A Freedom of Information request submitted to the council on April 25 remained unanswered at the time of writing, leaving the objectors without any documentary evidence or background in relation to this proposal.

The submission stated Fáilte Ireland has no knowledge of the existing facilities in Kilkee nor water-based facilities upon which to base any policy or strategy.

It noted the council has failed to take into account factors that should have been considered in assessing the likely effects on the environment of the proposal.

“The council failed to consult with interested parties such as hotel owners, B&B operators and caravan park operators or, if they have, no such evidence appears in planning document papers.

“No letters of support for this application from any quarter appears on the planning file. Although specified in the Fáilte papers, there is no evidence that the council actually entered into consultation with water sports activity operators (WSAO), and there does not appear to have been any demand from WSAO for such a facility, thus confirming that no need has been shown for such a facility.

“The council has refused to grant planning permission to private individuals for developments on the sea side of public roads. This proposed development is on the sea side of the main public road at the East End at Kilkee.

“The rationale for refusing planning is that it blocked a sea view from the public road not alone to passers-by but also to residents who had previously enjoyed an unblocked sea view.”

The submission stated it appeared no consideration was given to possible alternative vacant sites some of which are already in public ownership away from the sea side of the public road, but still within 50 metres of the proposed site.

It outlined existing buildings were not considered such as Waterworld, which has adequate room for this proposed development. Waterworld operates for about ten weeks, leaving 42 weeks available for other users.

Rooms in the garda station and the Elliott Centre or the privately-run business centre at O’Curry Street, Kilkee are other options that could be considered.

The submission argued the council has no business entering into competition with existing commercial facilities by providing this proposal.

It pointed out many of the water-based activities take place on the beach away from the proposed location. Commenting on the Ecological Report, it outlined the statement that the southern part of the beach can’t be reached by visitors as a stream divides the beach is totally untrue.

Another “major error” in the report, the submission stated, is the assertion that foul water will be treated by the existing Kilkee waste water treatment plant as foul water is currently discharged untreated directly into the sea.

Asked for a comment on this submission, the council stated as this matter is under consideration by An Bord Pleanála, it would not be appropriate for the authority to comment.

In its submission to the board, the council outlined the Water Sports Facility at Kilkee sits overlooking Kilkee Bay with direct access to the beach.

It predicted this facility will enable a significant increase in visitor numbers and associated revenue over the next decades and more.

Three significant tourism plans were launched in 2021. According to the council, each of these plans set out strategic priorities and objectives that underpin sustainable tourism. Both innovation and critical infrastructure, like permanent water sports facilities are needed to deliver these bold plans.

The local authority submitted that building vibrant experiences that promote experiential themes and differentiate Clare in the global marketplace is a key aspiration of the County Clare Tourism Strategy 2030. One of these experiential themes is “Pursue our Adventure and Family Fun”.

Adventure and water sports in Kilkee will feature strongly in the council’s marketing campaign and will be further developed in the coming decade.

“Kilkee will become a compelling destination in the international and domestic marketplace and become recognised as a location for adventure and fun,” it stated.

A Natura Impact Statement (NIS), Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening report has been completed as part of the plans.

An Appropriate Assessment Stage One and Stage Two report concluded the conversation integrity of two European sites have been addressed by the inclusion of mitigation measures that will prioritise the avoidance of effects in the first place and mitigate effects where these cannot be avoided.

About Dan Danaher

Check Also

Cliffs partners with UL on new tourism research project

Clare County Council has partnered with the University of Limerick (UL) to sponsor a new …