Report on Save our Seafront's AGM, 29th June 2017.
Key items discussed
CRUISE BERTH PROPOSAL: The main achievement was the campaign to protect Dun Laoghaire Harbour yet again. SOS courageously took a Judicial Review which stopped plans by DL Harbour Company to build a monstrous cruise berth for super cruise liners which would have destroyed the harbour.
This was the culmination of 2 years hard work involving planning submissions, Oral Hearing, organising public meetings and demonstrations and working with legal team.
SOS will continue its campaign to ensure the cruise berth never happens.
BULLOCH HARBOUR: SOS campaigned successfully to protect Bulloch Harbour from a wholly inappropriate development by Bartra Property Group; which was opposed by the public and by Bulloch Harbour Protection Association.
DLR Co. Council are pursuing ways to protect the harbour and a working group has been set up. It is understood that Bartra are re-submitting plans for a development similar to that which was refused planning.
DUN LAOGHAIRE HARBOUR – other developments: DL Harbour Co. are looking to change use of Stena Terminal Building to accommodate commercial business with a technology cluster.
This would represent a fundamental change to the marine aspect and heritage of the harbour, as well as the start of commercialisation of the harbour, including possible high- rise development. Planning application has yet to be submitted.
GOVERNANCE OF DUN LAOGHAIRE HARBOUR The Harbours Bill 2015 proposes that Harbour ownership be transferred to DLR Co. Council. SOS favours this, with the Harbour Co. becoming a Department of the Council. The community has no control over the Harbour Co's mad, expensive plans.
SOS met with Minister Shane Ross to no effect. Richard Boyd Barrett posed many Dail questions, but governance remains in limbo.
There are serious question-marks over title/ownership of foreshore and other issues which DL Harbour Co. has refused to answer in Due Diligence and Risk Assessment processes undertaken by DLR Co. Council.DL Harbour Co. continues to be in a parlous financial position. It is understood that DLR Co. Council has supported the Harbour Co. to the tune of €2m to cover planning costs.
BADESCHIFF (Floating pool): On-going since 2012. Council has promised DLR Harbour Co. €1.5m of which €750k was already paid over but no Badeshiff has materialised.
Council has finally passed a motion to extract themselves from the deal.
DUN LAOGHAIRE BATHS: Refurbishment of Baths site with walkways, galleries, jetty etc. expected late summer/ early autumn (Phase 1).
Cllr Melisa Halpin will continue to press that Phase 2 is also completed.
BLACKROCK BATHS: €600k set aside by Council. Nothing happened. SOS will follow up, also Deepwell development.
TEMPORARY CAR VALETING ON CARLISLE PIER:
Planning permission has been granted, despite objections by SOS and others.
The following marine related projects for Harbour were proposed and approved:
>A National Sailing Centre which will attract the Volvo Race and the Tall Ships to the Harbour >Develop marine activity to include ferry services, small cruise ships and the expansion of the fishing fleet >A Diaspora Centre, utilising existing buildings, linked to Maritime Museum and Lexicon Library >A low-impact maritime cluster using existing derelict buildings, including new slipways, a repair yard, sail-making and a maritime service base >An Annual Maritime Festival which will connect the town and the Harbour, bring much needed business and tourism, and enhance the cultural and economic well-being of the town >A Marine National Park. This proposal has been made independently and would ensure the Harbour is a protected area under public ownership. The proposal includes funding for research, consultants who specialise in marine parks, costings and means of financing.
In these and other issues, a small, voluntary SOS committee and SOS supporters have worked successfully with a range of cross-community groups including An Taisce, community and ratepayers associations, the yacht clubs and other harbour and seafront users.