KILLARNEY’S answer to the spectacular viewing platform on the Grand Canyon, in the US, will not affect the livelihoods of traditional jarveys and boatmen, the developers insisted yesterday.
Killarney Town Council has given planning permission for a 270ft (82m) viewing tower, part of a major shopping/tourism development in the 14-acre Malton Hotel site for which planning was granted, last month.
But two Independent town councillors, Donal Grady and Michael Courtney, said they would be appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanála.
Mr Grady claimed: “Who would want to view Killarney from Aghadoe if they can get a quick trip up a tower? I believe tour operators and people giving boat trips on the lakes will be affected if the tower goes ahead.”
He also said a tower would not be in keeping with the physical environment of Killarney.
Killarney was a town of low structures and something almost 90m height would “desecrate” the town, he argued.
Mr Grady, whose family are in the jarvey business, said a tower would be totally out of place and a “disgrace on the skyline”.
But, Michael O’Shea, a director of Beara BL, the company behind the project, said it would enhance visitors’ experience of Killarney, just as a dramatic viewing area was doing on the Grand Canyon.
It would be a showpiece and a shop window for the area’s beauty spots, he maintained.
“I believe people who go up on the tower will be so ‘wowed’ that they will be encouraged to go out there and see the beauty spots,” said Mr O’Shea who also rejected claims it would intrude on the privacy of people’s homes.
“One of the main jarvey companies in Killarney have told us they are very much in favour of the tower.”
Mr O’Shea has stated his company’s ambitious €200 million shopping and tourism development is going ahead in Killarney.
Beara BL has planning permission for 18,000 square metres of retail space, a new hotel block, an underground car park with 1,200 spaces, a courthouse and an eight-screen cinema.
Some of the buildings will be up to five storeys with an entrance plaza onto East Avenue Road.