On November 17th, the Association of Irish Local Government highlighted their serious concerns with the proposed legislation and its potential to deny the elected members of Local Authorities to input into proposed Canal Bye-laws that may affect the potential development of the Grand and Royal Canals and the Barrow Navigation say the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland.
The Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) highlighted that City & County Councils have a key interest in the management of Ireland's canal system arising from their responsibilities in the areas of tourism promotion, community and economic development, and the natural and built heritage. The 21 days proposed is too short for the local authority meeting cycle to afford councillors the opportunity to comment on draft byelaws and therefore the period should be extended to 90 days.
The Motion as tabled by Labour Councillor Dermot Lacey of Dublin City Council called on the Minister for Arts and Heritage to amend the Heritage Bill 2016 so as to increase from 21 days to 90 days the period for consultation in relation to bye-laws for canal management proposed to be made by Waterways Ireland, the statutory canal authority.
Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council & South Dublin County Council, have in the past month all unanimously passed emergency motions calling on Minister Humphreys to defer the introduction of the Heritage Bill given their concerns on it. The 90 days period proposed by the above Authorities is currently an approach used by Waterways Ireland already in relation to its corporate plan consultation process.
IWAI advise that while it would welcome and support proper regulations the proposed Heritage Bill does not put user requirements, local communities or tourism at the centre of the regulations. Rather it is a heavy handed approach that will result in a detrimental reduction of boat traffic on the canals.
IWAI believes that it is a negative and imbalanced approach to introduce legislation that penalises 99% of waterways communities to address the problematic area of 1% (due to unlicensed boats, harbour hogging). These matters can be legislated for without effectively penalising the other less populated areas.