A new state-of-the-art white-water rafting course will be built in Dublin’s Docklands.
Dublin City Councillors have voted in favor of the project, which will cost €22m ($24m), the Irish Independent reports.
The facility, which will take about 18 months to build, will be constructed at George’s Dock on the North quays, and will take over the currently vacant spot beside the Epic Immigration Museum.
Former Lord Mayor Christy Burke said of the current barren site: "It reminds you of a huge open grave that’s just left there. So I welcome this with open arms.”
The facility will include a simulated white-water slalom course and a flat pool that can be used for rafting, kayaking and canoeing. Primarily intended as a tourist attraction, it will also be used as a water rescue training facility for the Dublin Fire Brigade as well as visiting fire brigades.
The Dublin Fire Brigade said it will act as “an excellent water rescue training site, with multiple features and configurations facilitating the effective and safe execution of all water rescue syllabus requirements.”
Sports and community clubs have also said the facility would be very welcome.
However, not everyone is in favor of the project, which was passed in the council by a majority of 37 votes to 19.
Director of Inner City Helping Homeless Anthony Flynn said the proposal was “crazy” given Ireland’s housing crisis.
“I just find it unbelievable that DCC can splash out this much money on a facility when there are thousands of people without a home. They’re completely out of touch with reality and it seems all these decisions are being forced down councillors throats,” he said.
The initial proposal estimated that the project would cost €12m, but it has since increased to €22m.
Cllr Hazel Chu thinks the facility will be an excellent amenity for Dublin but said the massive cost increase is ludicrous.
“The sum has nearly doubled in the space of several weeks, and the thought of it increasing another ten or 20 million is very concerning.
“However, DCC have said it will source the some of the money through different avenues and sources at no additional cost to them,” she said.
According to The Irish Times, work on the project will begin in late 2020. The facility is expected to attract more than 11,000 visitors in the first year, and more than 37,000 visitors in its fifth year.