Further to the Motion passed at the Special City Council meeting on 11th November I set out here under the actions that have been put in place in the interim to address the requirements of the motion.
Environmental Liaison and Monitoring Committee
I have formally written to Birdwatch Ireland, NPWS, and the OPW inviting them to join the Environmental Monitoring and Liaison Committee for the S2S Cycleway & Footway Interim Works (Bull Road to Causeway Road). In addition, it was agreed at the November North Central Area Committee meeting that representation on the committee for the local community would be increased to three nominees. Formal letters of invitation have been issued by Dave Dinnigan, Area Manager to Clontarf Residents Association, Clontarf Business Association and Raheny Residents Association. Councillor Ciaran O’Moore has been nominated by the North Central Area Committee to represent Dublin City Council. An independent Chairperson is being appointed and it is hoped that the first meeting will be held in December 2015.
Finished Surface of the Sea Defence Wall
It is our intention to seek the views of the local Community on the final surface finish for the carriageway side of the wall. In order to progress this matter we intend to put in place a number of sample panels of possible wall finishes (just south of the highest section of wall) in December 2015 to allow members of the local community to view them and come up with a preferred option . It is also hoped to have part of the footpath at this location completed to its finished level so that the real height of the wall vis-à-vis the footpath and carriageway can be appreciated.
Planning Condition regarding working times.
The timing of construction works is covered under Condition 10 of the current planning permission which states that “As proposed the construction period for works to the Lagoon shall be restricted to between March and September each year. Any exceptions sought shall be agreed in advance with the National Parks & Wildlife Service. The timing of all other works outside the lagoon shall be agreed with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.” This condition has been complied with and the limited works carried out in October were agreed with the Project Ecologist and NPWS and an agreed screen was erected to hide the works from the returning wintering birds.
The previous An Bord Pleanala Condition 4 (b) for the Dollymount Promenade and Flood Protection Project (2011) was on the basis of works encroaching approximately 7 metres into the lagoon to build a new structure over approximately 1.7km of the 1.9 km long scheme, with no carriageway works being done other than tie-in works to the structure. This is no longer the case on the interim scheme where the majority of the works are being carried out on the existing road, with only limited access to the lagoon for the construction of three sections of new flood defence wall.
The use of Glass Panels
The estimated cost of supply and installation of glass panels would be €3k-€5k per linear metre including VAT. A new support beam would be required at an estimate of €2k per linear metre giving a total of around €2.5m for the 400m in question. Having talked to consultants who work in this area there is no known estimate of breaking waves forces and thus any new product like this would be a relatively untried prototype which may or may not work. The proposed panels would also require vertical metal supports at 1.2m centres which with various supports would significant reduce any viewing through them. Angular viewing would also be significantly restricted (due to the thickness of the glass) and cleaning would be required on a very regular basis. Vandalism is a major issue for glass panels elsewhere in the city with typical replacement time of 6-8 weeks. Notwithstanding the above and in deference to the wishes of some Councillors, I have included in the brief for the independent expert that the feasibility of a glass wall be considered.
Independent expert to assess the proposed height of the wall
In trying to source an independent expert to assess the appropriateness of the design height of the wall we are somewhat constrained in that a large number of independent experts have already been involved in this project and studies relating to it. Therefore a short list of five remaining candidates on the Island of Ireland who have knowledge in this area has been assembled. We are approaching the academic candidates to see their availability for what will require a significant amount of their time to re-evaluate all of the existing documentation and studies associated with the nine years to date of this project and carry out any further evaluations required. The Environment SPC has noted the contents and extent of the brief being given to this independent expert.
The Contractor continues to work on site dealing with the water main installation and other ancillary works not related to the flood defence wall. To date the Council is incurring some additional costs relating to changes to work schedules. In the coming weeks it will be crucial that a situation is reached where the contractor is allowed to recommence work, subject to the findings of the independent expert, on the lower elements of the wall, to avoid exposing the Council to substantial contractual claims.
I will provide a further update before the end of December 2015.
Declan Wallace, Stiúrthóir Tráchta (Gníomhach), An Roinn Comhshaoil agus Iompar, Comhairle Cathrach Bhaile Átha Cliath, Bloc 2, Urlár 6, Oifigí na Cathrach, An Ché Adhmaid, Baile Átha Cliath 8