Three Doolin Pier options for consideration – Written by Dan Danaher – The Clare Champion
THREE different options for the controversial development of Doolin Pier, costing an estimated €5 million, were presented to interested parties at a public consultation meeting on Wednesday last.
Clare County Council had obtained planning permission for the construction of the long-awaited new Doolin Pier about 75m to the west of the existing pier under the Part 8 process.
However, this was challenged by objectors who successfully argued the proposed development should have been accompanied by an environmental impact statement (EIS).
The council is also considering the proposed extension of the existing pier or the possible construction of a new pier to the north of the existing one.
Plans for the new pier have proven to be very divisive in the past and prompted a huge number of objections during the statutory planning process from a number of surfing organisations. However, the need for a new pier was also staunchly supported by several local organisations and local residents, who have expressed concern about the delay in completing a project that could open Doolin as a major access point to the Aran Islands with huge potential for job creation.
The West Coast Surf Club has claimed the first proposed Doolin Pier development had the potential to destroy a highly regarded surfing wave at Doolin Point and potentially have a significant impact on the surfing quality of the world-renowned wave at Crab Island.
It warned the new development would result in a significant danger to surfers as they would have to enter the water at either the shore side of the pier, crossing the ferry paths, or at the seaward side of the pier where the reef is extremely dangerous and this would be compounded with the backwash from the new pier.
The Lahinch-based club warned it could create significant currents in the water where surfers paddle creating a potential health and safety hazard.
Club spokesman, Tom Buckley stressed the organisation wasn’t opposed to the pier development in principle but didn’t want a structure that would cause a lot of problems once it was built.
Mr Buckley pointed out the production of credible wave modelling for any new pier proposal would help address some of the surfers’ concerns.
The local authority is presently preparing an environmental impact assessment in relation to proposals to provide significantly improved pier facilities at Doolin. Apart from the development put forward under previous planning proposals, alternative options are being considered.
Senior engineer, Tom Tiernan noted the Doolin Pier project remains “a very significant priority” for Clare County Council.
“Notwithstanding this,” he continued, “the council recognises the importance of facilitating public consultation and considering fully the views of the various stakeholders”.
“The Doolin Pier Project is a critically important piece of infrastructural development for the North Clare area and will serve to significantly enhance the tourism industry in both North Clare and the Aran Islands in future years,” he added.
Mr Tiernan explained the purpose of the forthcoming public consultation event is to outline to interested members of the general public what the alternative development options involve and to invite comments, observations and queries in this regard.
Members of the public will then have a four-week period within which to articulate their views and comments in writing to the county council.
“All submissions will be considered in detail along with all of the other pertinent detail collated by the council’s consultants. This will ultimately lead to the selection of one option, which in turn will become the proposal to which the environmental impact assessment refers.
“Once the pier option to be proposed in association with the environmental impact assessment is confirmed, the overall proposal will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála for determination,” Mr Tiernan concluded.
For more information, News and previous articles on the Pier at Doolin Point you can check out West Coast Surf Club
A short video made by lahinchdreamcatcher on Jul 20, 2010 showing the quality of waves in the Doolin area West Coast Surf Club are still fighting to protect.