ROW­ING CEN­TRE PLANS OP­POSED

PLANS FOR FA­CIL­ITY AT BURGAGE MOYLE AP­PEALED TO AN BORD PLEANALA

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By MYLES BUCHANAN

AN AP­PEAL has been lodged with An Bórd Pleanála re­gard­ing a high-per­for­mance row­ing cen­tre near Bless­ing­ton, over con­cerns that the fa­cil­ity could dis­turb lo­cal wildlife.

In Septem­ber, Wick­low County Coun­cil granted Row­ing Ire­land con­di­tional plan­ning per­mis­sion for the cen­tre to in­clude a boathouse with 11 bays, an at­tached build­ing, hous­ing launch boat area, eight bays for safety boats and an equip­ment store at Burgage Moyle.

But those plans are now on hold af­ter Ray­mond O’Sul­li­van from Naas ob­jected on the ba­sis of ‘habi­tat de­struc­tion and wildlife dis­tur­bance’.

PLANS for a high per­for­mance row­ing cen­tre near Bless­ing­ton have been ap­pealed to An Bord Pleanala over con­cerns about the ef­fect it could have on lo­cal wildlife.

In Septem­ber, Wick­low County Coun­cil granted Row­ing Ire­land con­di­tional plan­ning per­mis­sion for a sin­gle storey boathouse with eleven bays for row­ing boats, a two storey at­tached an­cil­lary build­ing, hous­ing launch boat area, eight bays for safety boats and an equip­ment store at Burgage Moyle, Bless­ing­ton.

Per­mis­sion was also sought for a boiler room and wa­ter stor­age on ground floor, with chang­ing ar­eas, gym, meet­ing rooms, and a bal­cony/ter­race at first floor level and 78 car park­ing spa­ces.

How­ever, Ray­mond O’Sul­li­van, O’Wood­end, New­town, Eadestown, Naas, has ob­jected to An Bord Pleanála over Wick­low County Coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to grant plan­ning per­mis­sion.

The pri­mary rea­sons for Mr O’Sul­li­van’s ob­jec­tion are ‘habi­tat de­struc­tion and wildlife dis­tur­bance’ on the

Poulaphouca Reser­voir, which is des­ig­nated a Spe­cial Pro­tec­tion Area (SPA) un­der the Con­ser­va­tion of Wild Birds Di­rec­tive and is lo­cated ad­ja­cent to the pro­posed row­ing cen­tre site.

Mr O’Sul­li­van also ex­pressed sur­prise that the Bless­ing­ton Green­way re­ceived per­mis­sion.

In his ob­jec­tion he states: ‘The pri­mary pur­pose of the SPA des­ig­na­tion was the pro­tec­tion of the roost­ing sites for two species of bird the Grey Lag Goose and the Lesser Blacked Gull. The reser­voir is a crit­i­cally im­por­tant roost­ing site for both species of bird. It is as­ton­ish­ing, to me at least, that those who ap­proved the above de­vel­op­ment and an­other re­cently ap­proved de­vel­op­ment around the forty three kilo­me­tre perime­ter of the reser­voir,’ said Mr O’Sul­li­van.

‘It should be noted that the grant of per­mis­sion for the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment of the Bless­ing­ton Green­way was ap­pealed to the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion in Brus­sels and was reg­is­tered as a com­plaint and is be­ing ad­ju­di­cated upon at present,’ he wrote.

In his ob­jec­tion, Mr O’Sul­li­van recog­nised row­ing as a ‘worth­while ac­tiv­ity’ but feels the row­ing cen­tre will be lo­cated in an in­ap­pro­pri­ate site. He fur­ther stated that plenty of other wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties al­ready take place in the area.

‘At present there are nu­mer­ous other ac­tiv­i­ties on this wa­ter body which con­trib­ute to the dis­tur­bance of wildlife. There is an ex­ist­ing row­ing club at Bless­ing­ton Bridge, ad­min­is­tered by Row­ing Ire­land, which is an as­so­ci­a­tion of five Dublin row­ing clubs. There is an out­door ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­ity cen­tre at Avon Ri which en­gages in sail board­ing and kayak­ing. There is a boat hire com­pany close to Lacken. There is the sail­ing club near Balti­boys which has over one hun­dred mem­bers. There is a fish­ing club near Russ­bor­ough and there is a ca­noe­ing club,’ said Mr O’Sul­li­van in his ap­peal.

‘The in­shore life boat ser­vice also con­duct train­ing on the reser­voir. The EIA re­port sug­gests that row­ing ac­tiv­ity on the lake is cur­rently in the re­gion of sixty sin­gle boats, ten four man boats, ten eight man boats plus safety launches. By any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion you could not claim that the re­source is be­ing un­der­utilised in re­gards to row­ing. There is no sug­ges­tion any­where that the ex­ist­ing row­ing club should be re­placed or sub­sumed into the cur­rent pro­posal’.

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