Irish Water told to carry out 'stoat survey' in south Dublin
Shane Ross asks Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to refuse permission for €80m reservoir
The Department of Arts and Heritage has requested that Irish Water undertake a “stoat survey” after the mammal was detected at the Stillorgan reservoir. Photograph: Dermot Breen
Irish Water’s plans for an €80 million redevelopment of the Stillorgan reservoir have hit a number of hurdles, including demands from a local authority that 60 per cent of the lands to be turned into a public park.
Minister for Transport Shane Ross has also called for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to refuse permission for the scheme on the grounds that it would not provide sufficient water for the area’s future needs.
In addition, the Department of Arts and Heritage has requested that Irish Water undertake a “stoat survey” after the mammal was detected at the reservoir.
Irish Water submitted an application to redevelop the 150-year-old open-air complex of three reservoirs, which provides drinking water for 200,000 people across south Dublin, to the council last November.
The company wants to build a new covered reservoir on the site of the largest of the three, known as the Gray Reservoir. Once the new covered reservoir is operational, the two other reservoirs, the Upper Reservoir and the Lower Reservoir, would be drained and decommissioned and then landscaped.
Closed to public
The company said it plans to retain the landscaped site for future water infrastructure development, and not make it open to the public.
However, the council’s planning department wants the public to have access to the lands and has directed Irish Water to make 60 per cent of the site “publicly accessible passive open space or playing fields” and to design the land in such a way as to “optimise public patronage” of it.
Local councillor Barry Saul (Fine Gael ) said there was a “massive shortage” of public parkland and sporting fields in the area. “The reservoir should be a solution to these requirements. In Sandyford, businesses are being charged development levies in order to purchase open space at the same time Irish Water want to keep 20 acres of landscaped green area under lock and key.”
Separately Mr Ross has asked the council not to allow Irish Water to fill in and landscape the two smaller reservoirs, but to retain them for future consumption needs. He asked that the council reject the application “in a bid to encourage Irish Water to make better use of the reservoirs that are currently in place at the Stillorgan site”.
The council noted Irish Water had assessed the site for the presence of badgers, bats, otters, amphibians and reptiles, but not stoats.