€22m rafting centre gets green light despite anger over 'crazy' cost
City councillors have given the green light to construct a new state-of-the-art €22m white water course in Dublin.
Representatives of Dublin City Council voted in favour last night on the proposed site at George's Dock on the North Quays, beside the IFSC. The motion passed by 37 votes to 19.
However, not everyone was in favour of the ambitious project.
Director of Inner City Helping Homeless, Anthony Flynn, described the proposal as "crazy" given the current housing crisis.
"When this was first proposed to us, the council had estimated that it would cost €12m," he said.
"Now it has risen to an astronomical €22m and who is to say that it won't increase further?
"The council also wants this to be built in 18 months but we can't even build houses that fast.
"I just find it unbelievable that DCC can splash out this much money on a facility when there are thousands of people without a home. They're completely out of touch with reality and it seems all these decisions are being forced down councillors' throats."
The €22m facility includes a simulated white water slalom course and flat pool that can be used for rafting, kayaking and canoeing.
It is intended to be a major tourist attraction, but will also be used as a water rescue training facility for Dublin Fire Brigade and visiting firefighters.
Other city councillors have given their support to the development with former lord mayor Christy Burke describing the current barren basin as an ugly site.
"It reminds you of a huge open grave that's just left there, so I welcome this with open arms," he said.
Councillor Hazel Chu believes a white water rafting facility could be an excellent amenity but described the massive cost increase as ludicrous.
"The sum has nearly doubled in the space of several weeks and the thought of it increasing another €10m or €20m is very concerning.
"However, DCC said it will source some of the money through different avenues and sources at no additional cost to them," she said.
Sports and community clubs, including Canoeing Ireland, said the new facility would be welcomed.
It would take about 18 months to build and take the now vacant space beside the Epic Emigration Museum.
The venue formerly housed a yearly Christmas market as well as the annual Oktoberfest which had taken place there for nine years before it was cancelled this year due to concerns over rising insurance costs.