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Vote on camper van ban at quay

CAMPERVANS, caravans and even boats could be barred from staying overnight by the quay in one of South Galway’s most picturesque villages if an order, which is before the county council, is passed later this month.

Galway county councillors will decide whether to adopt a new bylaw that would prohibit overnight parking of campervans close to the pier in Kinvara and on nearby streets and also the mooring of vessels “for human habitation” on the water close to the pier.
A public meeting was held in Kinvara on Wednesday night to discuss the proposal. According to one of the organisers, Kinvara-based website designer and developer, Declan Connolly, “This meeting is very much a preliminary meeting to gauge people’s reaction and to possibly arrange a larger public meeting.”
Galway County Council says the proposal is in response to “a significant number of complaints” that it received on the issue of campervans remaining overnight in the vicinity of the pier, “in large numbers during the two festival weekends and to a lesser extent throughout the year”.
“Complaints have also been received regarding vessels located both in the water (along the side of the pier) and out of the water (on the pier) being used for human habitation,” outlined Jim Cullen, Galway County Council director of services, water, environment, community, enterprise and economic development in a letter to councillors circulated at the October 14 meeting of local authority members.
The proposed prohibition was on the agenda for that meeting of Galway County Council, having been previously discussed at meetings of Loughrea area councillors but was deferred to the November meeting.
Deputy Mayor of County Galway, Councillor Bridie Willers, said she fully endorses barring people from staying in temporary dwellings at the pier in Kinvara.
“Most residents are in favour of this prohibition because the campervans and temporary dwellings are parked outside their doors and windows on that green.
“They are a pure nuisance. Among the difficulties is that there are no facilities for the campervans and caravans, it is not a suitable place for them to stay as they have no way to get rid of rubbish, for instance. I have to stress that there is no proposal to ban parking during the day, just overnight parking,” Councillor Willers told The Clare Champion.
“I am 100% supportive of the residents, they have been persecuted,” she added. “Some of these people staying in campervans and caravans have no respect for the residents and there is already a camping area outside the town. Of course, the residents and the council welcome tourists but camping on the green in front of people’s houses is not right.”
A deputation of residents from the quay area in Kinvara attended the November 2009 meeting of Loughrea area councillors. This deputation stated that there was an “ongoing and worsening problem relating to campervans using the quay as a caravan park”. They said the problem had grown every year “with increasing numbers of campervans blocking up the quay, some of which almost take up semi-permanent residence on the quay”.
The group argued that the quay is a tourist attraction in the heart of Kinvara and is an important amenity used by the locals for relaxing and walking. They added the problem is at its worst during the summer and that although there are two ‘No Camping’ or ‘Overnight Parking’ signs in place, there was no enforcement of it.
At the ’09 meeting, the residents said the accumulation of these temporary dwellings was limiting of parking for other visitors to the area and blocked access to driveways of neighbouring houses. They also claimed the campers created traffic problems, as it is a very narrow area, and made it difficult to see cars, cyclists or children on the quay as a result of the parked campervans. The group also argued that the quay area was unsuitable for camping or temporary accommodation because there are no public toilet facilities on the quay, no waste facilities and that “Kinvara does not have the bin facilities to cope with campervans and their domestic waste”.
According to Councillor Willers, who attended that local area meeting, the arguments put forward by the deputation were compelling.
“The group wasn’t exaggerated but gave an honest presentation with information and photos and, overall, made a convincing case. They stressed they had no difficulty with campers being parked in the area during the day but it was when they stayed over that the difficulties arose,” the deputy mayor outlined.
However, Mr Connolly, who does not live by the pier but describes himself as a regular user of it, believes people who wish to stay overnight should not be turned away.
“I use the quay in so far as I have a boat and cruise to other parts of the country and I have never been turned away from a harbour overnight,” he stated.
“When I travel, we stay on our boat, we might eat out or go for a drink but we sleep on the boat. When boats do come to Kinvara they should be welcomed and we don’t get a huge amount of visitors like that. If this goes through it would technically be illegal to stay on your boat during Cruinniú na mBád,” Mr Connolly said.
Mr Connolly, the administrator of the KinvaraOnline website and Facebook page, told ITAL The Clare Champion he was unaware of the proposal until recently. He said he felt the deputation to the council back in 2009 “was not publicised” and that he wanted to see some discussion in the community about the proposed ban.
“The legislation being used is a bit ridiculous. This prohibition will be under Section 31 of the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1948. All the modern campervans have chemical loos and are taking their effluent away with them but the people living in Kinvara are putting effluent straight into the water. I think it is a bit two faced to use that legislation for the camper vans to be honest,” he added.
However, Mr Connolly does recognise some of the residents’ concerns.
“Camper vans should park responsibly and not in front of someone’s garden or doorway or anything like that and I am not for long-term stays either but with regard to a visitor coming and spending their money in the local pubs and restaurants, they should be allowed to stay overnight in my opinion,” he said.
The prohibition order will come before Galway county councillors again on November 28.
“They are a pure nuisance. Among the difficulties is that there are no facilities for the campervans and caravans, it is not a suitable place for them to stay as they have no way to get rid of rubbish, for instance. I have to stress that there is no proposal to ban parking during the day, just overnight parking,” Councillor Willers told The Clare Champion.
“I am 100% supportive of the residents, they have been persecuted,” she added. “Some of these people staying in campervans and caravans have no respect for the residents and there is already a camping area outside the town. Of course, the residents and the council welcome tourists but camping on the green in front of people’s houses is not right.”
A deputation of residents from the quay area in Kinvara attended the November 2009 meeting of Loughrea area councillors. This deputation stated that there was an “ongoing and worsening problem relating to campervans using the quay as a caravan park”. They said the problem had grown every year “with increasing numbers of campervans blocking up the quay, some of which almost take up semi-permanent residence on the quay”.
The group argued that the quay is a tourist attraction in the heart of Kinvara and is an important amenity used by the locals for relaxing and walking. They added the problem is at its worst during the summer and that although there are two ‘No Camping’ or ‘Overnight Parking’ signs in place, there was no enforcement of it.
At the ’09 meeting, the residents said the accumulation of these temporary dwellings was limiting parking for other visitors to the area and blocked access to driveways of neighbouring houses. They also claimed the campers created traffic problems, as it is a very narrow area, and made it difficult to see cars, cyclists or children on the quay.
“The group also argued that the quay area was unsuitable for camping or temporary accommodation because there are no public toilet facilities on the quay, no waste facilities and that “Kinvara does not have the bin facilities to cope with campervans and their domestic waste”.
According to Councillor Willers, who attended that local area meeting, the arguments put forward by the deputation were compelling.
“The group wasn’t exaggerated but gave an honest presentation with information and photos and, overall, made a convincing case.
“They stressed they had no difficulty with campers being parked in the area during the day but it was when they stayed over that the difficulties arose,” the deputy mayor outlined.
However, Mr Connolly, who does not live by the pier but describes himself as a regular user of it, believes people who wish to stay overnight should not be turned away.
“I use the quay in so far as I have a boat and cruise to other parts of the country and I have never been turned away from a harbour overnight,” he stated.
“When I travel, we stay on our boat, we might eat out or go for a drink but we sleep on the boat. When boats do come to Kinvara they should be welcomed and we don’t get a huge amount of visitors like that. If this goes through it would technically be illegal to stay on your boat during Cruinniú na mBád,” Mr Connolly said.
Mr Connolly, the administrator of the KinvaraOnline website and Facebook page, told The Clare Champion he was unaware of the proposal until recently. He said he felt the deputation to the council back in 2009 “was not publicised” and that he wanted to see some discussion in the community about the proposed ban.
“The legislation being used is a bit ridiculous. This prohibition will be under Section 31 of the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1948. All the modern campervans have chemical loos and are taking their effluent away with them but the people living in Kinvara are putting effluent straight into the water. I think it is a bit two faced to use that legislation for the camper vans to be honest,” he added.
However, Mr Connolly does recognise some of the residents’ concerns.
“Camper vans should park responsibly and not in front of someone’s garden or doorway or anything like that and I am not for long-term stays either but with regard to a visitor coming and spending their money in the local pubs and restaurants, they should be allowed to stay overnight in my opinion,” he said.
The prohibition order will come before Galway county councillors again on November 28.

 

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