A multi-million whitewater rafting facility designed for the Dublin Docklands should be turned into a badly needed creche for struggling local residents, a former Lord Mayor believes.
It comes as the government has refused to fund the controversial €25 million whitewater rafting facility which has been mooted for some time.
Dublin City Council sought €19m for the project from the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund but Local Government and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has refused to fund the proposed development on George's Dock.
The Council said the latest estimated cost for the facility, which it insists would be a major tourist draw, has reached €25.4 million a rise of more than double the original estimate of €12 million in 2019.
Last January, senior Council officials sought expressions of interest from builders for the contract to develop the attraction, stressing in a preliminary tender that the plan was “subject to funding”.
The tender process was initiated “to get a more realistic cost estimate” and the Council said a final decision would be made once costs and funding options had been assessed.
Out of touch
Dublin north inner city Independent councillor and former Lord Mayor Christy Burke said that the Council also approaching the Department of Sports and Sports Ireland to also give their thoughts on the project as “shameful”.
Cllr Burke said: “These plans were unbelievable and out of touch with reality. It seemed the Council did not want to realise that we are in the midst of a pandemic which is decimating people both health wise and economically, our health system is struggling, there’s a housing and homeless crisis.
"The list goes on. I welcome that the white raft development is no longer a runner as the cost of €25 million is totally out of order.
“There is a need for a creche in the area as the service that's there is in desperate need of development for the Docklands. The Council should now consider some of the site for a creche where the white water raft was to go.”
Cllr Burke revealed that he initially voted in favour of the project back in 2019 as councillors had been informed that it would enable Dublin fire fighters with specialist training instead of having to travel elsewhere primarily out of the country.
“But now I’m totally opposed to this the more I’m reading about it and Dublin City Council’s senior officials had to be stopped. It’s absolutely crazy the timing and the thought processes on this."
The White Water Rafting Centre (WWRC) was to consist of the white-water rafting course, swift water rescue training facility, kayaking and canoe polo pool and urban street scene.