Motion No. 33 in the Name of Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland
Dublin City Council commends
the cross cutting climate action lens permeating all aspects of our
Development Plan 2022 - 2028 and recognises the imperative of
realising and indeed surpassing the climate mitigating and climate
adaptation objectives of our DCC Climate Action Plan. To support
full oversight of the realisation of our climate action objectives
and actions Dublin City Council agrees to the scheduling of annual
special meeting of the full Council to review progress of our
Climate Action Plan.
The motion was put and carried.
Motion No. 1 in the name of Councilor John Lyons
Noting the recent refusal by central government to provide funding from the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund for the white water rafting facility proposal at George’s Dock, this council believes that work on progressing the project should cease immediately and a new process initiated that will consider a variety of alternative proposals for this key city centre site.
Derek Kelly, Director of Services, South City provided a statement that at its meeting in December 2019, following a robust debate, the Elected Members approved, by a significant majority, a Part VIII planning application for a major redevelopment of George’s Dock. The proposed redevelopment consisted of a white-water rafting course, a swift water rescue training facility with an urban street scene for use by the emergency services and a kayaking/canoe polo/swimming pool within the derelict outer basin at George’s Dock. The Council also approved the demolition of the existing City Council Dockland offices on Custom House Quay and the construction of two new Quayside buildings – one to service the George’s Dock development and a second to replace the Docklands offices.
Since the approval of the Part VIII there has been a considerable amount of negative commentary related to this project. This has created a narrative around the project that appears impossible to reverse and that has undermined the planned funding of the project. While the merits of the project, as set out in the Business Case and Cost Effectiveness Analysis, are still as strong today as they were in 2019 we have been unable to convince the various State funding bodies, to support the project and provide part funding to supplement the Council’s own funding contribution. (In this regard it is worth noting that it was never intended that the project would receive URDF funding.)Notwithstanding the support of the City Council, it has become clear that there is significant hostility towards the elements of the project that would boost the tourism offer in Dublin and provide a world class sporting facility.
In light of the funding difficulties, I am recommending that the Council does not proceed with the George’s Dock element of the project.
The existing Docklands Office building is no longer ‘fit for purpose’. A recent independent condition survey has identified serious issues with the building. As a result it is now necessary for the Council’s Docklands Unit to vacate the building and move to rented office accommodation nearby. The survey suggests a need for significant renovation works to be undertaken to the building at an estimated cost of circa €4m if it is to be brought back into use. (Site access difficulties and the need to incorporate flood defence works partly explain the high cost.) Given the very poor architectural quality of the building and the prominence of the site, refurbishment is not considered an appropriate or viable option.
I am recommending that the City Council proceed with the construction of the two new Quayside buildings. The cost of two buildings, as approved in the Part VIII, is estimated at €9m.
One of the new buildings will serve as replacement for the City Council Docklands offices. The second building, will be used by the Council’s Sports and Recreation Services Department as a Water Activities Centre to enable them to provide an expanded programme of water based activities based on the River Liffey working in close cooperation with the City Council’s Municipal Rowing Centre at Islandbridge. This will achieve a major objective of the Docklands Water Animation Strategy.
The outer basin at Georges Dock is still in need of an imaginative solution and it is clear that a water based activity is the most suitable use for the Dock. There is also a need to provide a Swift Water Training facility to support the training needs of Dublin Fire Brigade and other emergency services. The Docklands Office will bring a revised proposal for the redevelopment of the Dock to the Elected Members in early 2022 with the intention of submitting a new Part VIII planning application by Q3 2022.
As the meeting ended before debate on the motion had concluded it will be
carried forward to the next meeting.
The meeting concluded at 9.30 p.m.