A fine harbour has been completed and the heavy engineering contractor has left the site. The public Slipway is open and is better than the old harbour, access to the North Beach has been restored. A different type of contractor is needed for the next phase. To some people this looks like an abandoned site like the ‘ghost’ housing estates or the mess of the La Touche Hotel. This is not so as the Council has a bond of at least €5m, enough to finish off the public facilities. However this is not exercisable until 2014. Although the delay is frustrating at least we have a backstop date.
Phase 2 (Primary Health Care Centre, 11 apartments, public square and 5 free clubhouses) needs funding from NAMA. The developer applied in mid February. The 4 storey medical centre is let to the HSE and a Doctors practice, so this phase should cover its costs and I think it will get funding, but I am not sure when. Phase 2 will take 12 months to build and many of the hoardings will be needed during construction to stop dirt and noise which annoys harbour residents. The site has many rough areas and hazards which would be unsafe to allow public access and which would make Sispar liable for claims and penalties under the Health & Safety Acts.
1. Fund all Phase 2 and the hoarding can come down progressively over the next year as it is completed and made safe.
2. Fund the Medical Centre and a small amount of the Public Square. Then some hoardings can be taken down and some temporary access facilities put in place for the rest.
3. Fund nothing in which case some Health and Safety work can be carried out to allow some access and some hoardings can come down.
Because a different access solution is needed for each result the loan decision is urgently awaited. Even a decision just to fund the Medical Centre would be positive as it would bring us closer to full completion. I have dealt with Sispar, the developer, over many years and I have found they have always provided more access than they were required to do and expect the same in future.
Currently not enough boat owners have expressed interest in paying for berths in the marina which could delay its completion beyond 2011. I believe that more are interested but they need to be contacted again. Some boat cruising groups have asked for access to use restaurants etc. trade which would be useful to the town. Some of the changes which I am pressing for once we have a NAMA decision:
· Putting up the planned decorative railings on South side and taking down the hoarding there.
· A temporary pontoon put in with safe access on the land side.
· Allowing access to the beach launching ramp and more beach.
· A better surface and more access to the public square.
· Reducing the angle on the top of the slip to stop jockey wheels grounding when launching heavier boats.
· Bye-Laws to control usage of the area.
Phase 3, the housing units North of the Medical Centre may well be delayed beyond 2012 but this will not have much effect on the public provided the public square is compete and most hoardings are down. The 11 apartments in the Medical centre will provide an opportunity to test the market for Phase 3 and I hope the need to make it look attractive will persuade NAMA to complete the Phase 2 Public Square.
A further complication is that ex Labour Party Councillor, Fiachra Etchingham has objected to the modest changes to Bord Pleanala. It could take from 1 to 14+ months for this to be cleared and this is unhelpful in getting a favourable decision from NAMA. I am hopeful this will not affect Phase 2.