Saturday 23 February 2008

Leisure plan for Victorian baths site makes a splash

A NEW world class pier and beach lagoon for the old Dun Laoghaire baths site was unveiled yesterday as an alternative to controversial high rise apartments.

The plan was outlined at a special briefing meeting yesterday for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown councillors.

Consultants Royal Haskoning and Murray & Associates made a presentation of the main findings and recommendations in their feasibility study on the East Pier to Sandycove Coastal Amenity Project.

Two different concept schemes were presented to councillors who wanted to examine the feasibility of a major world-class environmental/amenity improvement scheme at the location, which includes the Dun Laoghaire Baths site.

They were required to make provision for the proposed Sutton to Sandycove (S2S) walkway project.

A key recommendation made by the council is that the project should not have any high-rise or residential element, but that it should seek to complement the coastline and offer a modern local tourist attraction in the area.

Any proposed scheme must provide adequate sea defences to mitigate the effects of coastal erosion on the site in order to protect any proposed development

The alternative schemes recommended by the consultants and viewed by councillors yesterday include one featuring:

• A new lagoon in Dun Laoghaire.

• A lagoon beach constructed adjacent to the East Pier with a linking pedestrian bridge.

• An aquatic play area on the old baths site with a civic space and a building with a restaurant, providing for alternative therapies.

• An underground car park with up to 500 spaces.

• New upper and lower walkways along entire sea frontage with plaza and viewing areas.

• The Sutton to Sandycove project along the entire route.

• Limited land reclamation along Newtownsmith to facilitate civic amenities including the 'Festival of World Cultures'.

• A newly landscaped Sandycove Park with water sports buildings.

• Improved facilities for Sandycove Harbour.

The alternative plan includes:

• New promenade and sandy beach over the East Pier to Newtownsmith section.

• Construction of offshore and shore-connected breakwaters approximately 250m off shore.

• An upper and lower walkway, which will provide walks along the frontage and access to the beachfront.

• Accommodation of the S2S project along the entire route.

• An increase in surface car parking at Newtownsmith.

• Limited land reclamation along Newtownsmith to facilitate civic amenities, including the 'Festival of World Cultures'.

• Newly landscaped Sandycove Park with water sports buildings.

Both concepts will be presented to the public next week.
Treacy Hogan

Irish Independent

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