18th December

Private development pressure on unique natural amenity

“If you have any doubt why thousands of people have objected to private development of the old Dun Laoghaire Baths on the sea front, just take a look outside,” Richard Boyd Barrett said as he pointed to a scene of uninterrupted crystal blue clarity that stretched from Killiney to Howth head.

Boyd Barrett, Save our Seafront campaign, was addressing delegates at a one-day seminar: Dublin Bay − Protecting our Coastal Environment and Public Amenities.

Private development threatens open space and the foreshore. Photo Gillian Mills

Private development threatens open space and the foreshore. Photo Gillian Mills

The day began with an insight into public-private partnerships (PPPs), by Dr Kieran Allen, Dept of Sociology UCD who drew on Irish and UK examples.

Joe McCabe, Clontarf Residents Association, opened a session on campaign experiences. For 25 years the CRA has been fighting a proposal by Dublin Port Company to infill 52 acres of Dublin Bay:

“The infill will have a devastating effect on what is left of the inner bay, and runs contrary to the full classification of the bay as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EU Birds Directive. We believe the boundaries of the SPA were changed to facilitate this infill, and our concerns are being investigated in Europe,” he said.

Bob Waddell, Sandyford Residents Association said that not all council proposals were bad and gave an example of lighting installed on the seafront, which secured 90% local agreement.

“The problem however is lack of communication in the first instance. Residents must be consulted from the outset,” he said.

Evelyn Cawley, Save Greystones Harbour Campaign, gave an update to the proposed harbour/seafront development. “We object to the sale of the foreshore and the scale of the plan,” she said. [Full report next issue.]

Nicola Sarratt, Save our Seafront, stressed the lack of public consultation in the planning process and said that public amenities should not be handed over to PPPs “to run, own and control. Also, there is no zoning to protect the foreshore; the public must have access to the bay,” she said.

Under ‘Environment and Heritage’, Karin Dubsky, Coastwatch, said that Dublin Bay was invaluable as a national resource and amenity. “No other capital city has such a variety of scenery, natural habitats and geology, which is being slowly nibbled away.”

The afternoon also heard presentations on ‘campaign strategy and tactics’, and local politicians/councillors from across the party divide attended for a Q&A session.

 Proposals tabled and agreed:
  1. Alliance of coastal communities across Dublin Bay
  2. Dissatisfaction at the public consultation process
  3. Requirement for ‘real’ access to council meetings
  4. Public attendance at area meetings
  5. Reinstatement of height and scale controls
  6. To seek time lapse (length undecided) between individual serving in public and private office
  7. Proper integrated coastal zone management
  8. Ratification of the Aaarhus Convention
  9. Environmental education as part of primary school curriciulum
The meeting agreed to hold a summer carnival to highlight the plight of Dublin Bay.

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