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Dun Laoghaire Coal Harbour Users Group Suggest 'Marine Activity Centre' As Part of Cruise–Liner Development

13th April 2015
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Queen Elizabeth Cruise liner
The Queen Elizabeth Cruise liner moored off Dun Laoghaire
Dun Laoghaire Coal Harbour Users Group Suggest 'Marine Activity Centre' As Part of Cruise–Liner Development

#cruiselinerberth – Dun Laoghaire harbour as a leisure facility, is in danger of being damaged by the proposal of a cruise liner berth according to the Coal Harbour Users Group (CHUG) who have submitted a written response to Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company. The group says this is particularly so for dinghies and small craft, though this might be mitigated by development of alternative sailing area and facilities west of the harbour.  The group have asked if it might be feasible for a lifting bridge be included on the access causeway to the new cruise berth and could a municipal marine facility be provided as part of the plan.

CHUG says the Impact on larger leisure craft appears to be less significant and it would be in favour of the cruise berth development if it is likely to financially viable and bring in revenue to the harbour company and / or local authority.

The CHUG response to DLHC is below: 

Dear Sirs

Thank you for briefing the committee of Coal Harbour Users Group regarding the proposed cruise liner berth in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The proposed cruise berth is an enormous development that will project approx. 60% of the distance from the shore to the harbour entrance. The Harbour Company anticipate that the berth would be in use for approx. 100 visits per season – i.e. on at least every second day during the summer months. Other boat movements would be restricted while cruisers are moving / berthing in the harbour and manoeuvring outside the harbour. This berthing and manoeuvring is likely to be a slower and longer process than for the HSS.

The above is likely to represent an inconvenience for persons moored in the harbour or on the marina while entering and leaving the harbour, and while moving within the harbour. There may be occasions where a boat needs to urgently enter the harbour (e.g. emergency, weather conditions), and may be delayed by cruiser manoeuvring. Dinghy sailors are likely to be more severely impacted, particularly because sailing within the harbour will be restricted, and they may need to sail close to the harbour mouth while a strong south-westerly is blowing.

The disruption to small boat sailors might be mitigated by development of a Marine Leisure Centre and sailing area for dinghies and sailboards immediately west of the west pier. A marine activity centre might also provide activities and attractions for visitors on cruise liners. The idea of a marine activity centre is outlined later in this e-mail.

Items for consideration by the Stakeholder Group:
Might some of the gantries between the proposed cruise berth piles / fenders be lifted when not in use to allow dinghies to pass between them?
Might a lifting bridge be included on the access causeway to the new cruise berth?
Might land reclamation be carried out to facilitate the development of a marine activity centre? This might be achieved by use of spoil from dredging. The cost of pumping a proportion of this spoil across the west pier might represent a saving over the cost of its removal to the Burford Bank. The above would be subject to further investigation, EIA, and planning requirements. Based on anecdote, spoil dredged from the harbour may contain pollutants including toxic substances. The spoil from close to the harbour mouth and from outside the harbour may be less contaminated.

The suggested Marine Activity Centre would:
Be a municipal building operated on the lines of a local authority leisure centre, but incorporating facilities for clubs and organisations that would be available for a nominal cost.
Encourage, promote and enhance public access for the "ordinary man" (and youth) to the sea and to marine leisure and sporting activities. This would include persons that are not members of the yacht clubs and other existing (privileged) organisations around the harbour.
Provide a facility for delivering Water Safety Education (classroom / lecture room, practical work area)
Provide showers, changing rooms, offices for clubs and organisations, boat / windsurf / canoe storage yard.
Incorporate a new slipway for dinghies and shallow draft boats (there are very few public slipways in the Dublin area).
The sailing area would include a safety boom a few hundred metres offshore, and removal of rocks close to the shore (or marking of them).
Provision of a cantilevered pedestrian boardwalk along the harbour wall alongside the access road east of the DMYC, and widening of the access road. Development in the West Pier area has in the past been restricted by access road width. This may provide a solution to access issues.

Summary:

In our opinion, the harbour as a leisure facility, is in danger of being damaged by the proposal. This is particularly so for dinghies and small craft, though this might be mitigated by development of alternative sailing area and facilities west of the harbour. Impact on larger leisure craft appears to be less significant, and mainly represents an occasional inconvenience. In principle, CHUG would be in favour of the cruise berth development based on the information provided by the Stakeholder Group if it is likely to financially viable and bring in revenue to the harbour company and / or local authority.

Published in Dublin Bay
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