Consultants acting on behalf of Donald Trump have warned Clare County Council that planning permission to build a wall along the coastline of the billionaire’s golf course must be granted if his investment in the golf resort is to continue.
The consultants suggest that unless a 200,000-ton “wall” of rock is put in place to protect sand dunes in the coastal golf course from the impact of the Atlantic Ocean, the 400-acre Doonbeg Lodge and Golf Course, which Trump bought for $9.45 million (€8.7 million) in 2014, may be forced to close.
The warning was addressed to the county council within a new plan submitted by Trump International Golf Links and Hotel for a $10.8 million (€10 million) 1.7 mile-long wall of limestone rock which they wish to erect along Doughmore Beach, the stretch of land where the golf course meets the ocean.
The purpose of the wall is to prevent the golf course being washed away by future storms as occurred in 2014 when storms eroded sand dunes along the coastline by as much as 19 to 26 feet in places.
Yikes. RT @galocon: Ths storm claimed more dunes in Doonbeg. This photo taken today, Doonbeg and West Clare Ireland pic.twitter.com/IuyWY8IldY— Brian Keogh (@IrishGolfDesk) February 2, 2014
Warning of the consequences of not allowing the Trump resort to protect its land, the application states that planning refusal would have "a permanent and profound negative economic impact" on the local area.
Since acquiring the site in February 2014 at a low cost, Trump has invested an additional $16.3 million (€15 million) in Doonbeg, boosting the regional tourism economy by $15.7 million (€14.5 million).Environmental activists group Friends of the Irish Environment has voiced their disagreement with the building of the wall, with its New York-born director Tony Lowes calling the plan a "monster sea wall".
The planning application indicated that the resort hopes to host the Irish Open golf tournament in the future. Trump’s representative in Ireland, TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd, forecasts that the Irish Open would represent a massive $41.2 million (€38 million) bonus for the west Clare region between 2017 and 2024, but only if the wall can be put in place.
The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) lodged with the application, however, cited the lack of a dedicated event center in the area as a disadvantage, alluding to possible further investment in such a center if Doonbeg is allowed to proceed with the wall. The EIS reads: "the proposal to develop coastal protection works at Doonbeg is key to releasing future investment at the site.”
This is not the first time the GOP Presidential candidate and his firm have clashed with Clare County Council over the issues of erosion at the resort. When Doonbeg was first bought in 2014, CNBC reports that a quick-fix attempt was made to put a stop to the power of the waves by dumping tons of rocks into the sea, causing Trump to come head-to-head with unhappy local authorities.
As the coastline is the natural habitat of a particular snail species, the the narrow-mouthed whorl snail (or Vertigo angustior for the snail experts out there), the county council put a swift halt to Trump's rock-dumping so as to protect the endangered species.
His plan to place metal bars along the dunes to allow the sand to form once more was also not to be.
Finally a respite from the winter storms @TrumpDoonbeg Spring has finally arrived! #18 #LinksGolf pic.twitter.com/2d946tbJ4H— Trump Doonbeg (@TrumpDoonbeg) February 11, 2016
The proposal notes that similar walls have been raised by golf clubs around the country in order to protect the greens, with reports suggesting that the sand dunes will erode at a rate of one meter per year if no further prevention measures are taken.
Although 13-feet high and 65-feet wide, the proposed wall would be no higher than the existing cobble bank along the beach that faces down the 98-foot waves and driving rain of the ocean.
"With the placement of this protection, a master plan would be developed for the long-term future and viability of the site," the application concludes.
120klm winds last night now the calm after the storm at Doonbeg today. pic.twitter.com/FPyyvqh9— Marie Collins (@theseasidegirl) November 27, 2011
A decision is due on the planning permission request on April 18.