George’s Dock white water rafting plan challenged by public petition.

Image courtesy of the DCC architectural plans.

Geneva Pattison

In early 2019, Dublin City Council put forward plans to develop a white water rafting facility in George’s Dock. The development plan was passed in December 2019, despite the estimated costs of the build starting at 12 million euro then jumping to 23 million euro. On January 15th 2021, RTE reported on a further rise in costs, taking the projected total cost to 25 million euro to complete the white water rafting centre.

As mentioned on the Dublin City Council’s website, the rafting centre “will provide facilities for a wide range of people who wish to participate in water sports and leisure activities in a city centre.” Activities mentioned on the DCC consultation page include kayaking, canoeing and river rafting. Using the centre as a means to train emergency service workers and train elite athletes is also mentioned as a potential use for the centre.

On January 18th, DCC released an update on their website stating that the white water rafting projet will go to tender, to invite external contractors to make bids on the build. The DCC mentioned in the ‘news’ section of their site that “no additional Council funding can be allocated to the project and no additional borrowing can be undertaken without the approval of elected members of the Elected Members.”

In an interview with Newstalk from January 18th, Senator Michael McDowell shared his opinion on the development, calling it a “vanity-driven” project, stating that it was “at the interest of some people in the executive of Dublin City Council.”. The Senator also said that “It’s a waste of time, it’s a waste of money – Dubliners will not pay €50 per head to participate in it, and it’s about time it was called out for what it is.”.

Image courtesy of DCC architectural plans.

Members of the public in the last few days have started a petition, called “The George’s Dock Lido” on , in response to local and wider public opposition to the proposed rafting centre and currently, the petition has almost 1,500 signatures. The petition proposes to change the development from a rafting facility, to a public open air swimming pool, located in George’s Dock. The petition’s outline states the following:

” We propose the conversion of the space at George’s Dock into a large, public, outdoor swimming facility, for all Dubliners, accessible to all abilities. George’s Dock is the perfect location for such a proposal.”

It follows on to explain the merits of a public outdoor pool and the success rates of other European countries with lidos. The petition estimates that up to 230,000 people in Ireland aged over 16 swim on a weekly basis and have estimated the costs of using the proposed pool from around 5 to 10 euro a session, as opposed to 50 euro per head cost estimate for rafting. Similarly they have mentioned that the white water rafting facility, would be a smaller facility as opposed to others built in Europe, arguing that this would not fully benefit elite athletes in the sport, depriving them of a “truly state-of-the-art facility.”

Find out more from the links below.

Link to the George’s Dock Lido petition.

Link to most recent DCC news on the rafting facility.

Link to the DCC plans/outline for the proposed white water rafting site.,in%20a%20city%20centre%20location.

Link to the Newstalk interview with Senator McDowell.