A €12 million white-water rafting amenity, a water polo and kayaking pool, and a "swift water" rescue training facility are to be installed at George's Dock under plans from Dublin City Council.
City councillors will on Tuesday be presented with plans to convert the early 19th century dock, which sits between the IFSC and the CHQ building next to the river Liffey on the north quays, into an "elite" and amateur sports and recreation facility as well as a rescue training centre for Dublin Fire Brigade.
The rectangular dock basin, which measures approximately 100m by 70m, is expected to accommodate a central island pool with a water polo pool, which can also be used for flat-water kayaking, a pontoon with a “swift water” or flood water rescue training facility, and the white-water rafting route.
A mechanical control centre building would be built adjacent to the channel
A pumping station and a raft and kayak conveyor would be used to propel participants around the rectangular white-water circuit.
A mechanical control centre building would be built adjacent to the channel between the dock and the river to house the infrastructure necessary to power the white-water facility. It may also accommodate a small cafe. A retractable bridge to allow access to the central island would also be built.
The council also proposes to repurpose and refurbish the former Dublin Dockland Development Authority (DDDA) building on Custom House Quay to provide support infrastructure for the white-water facility and for other water activities on the river, to include a ticket sales area, a visitor orientation area, changing rooms, drying facilities and toilets.
The council hopes the facility will be used for “elite kayak slalom squad training”; for national and international white-water kayaking events; by the fire brigade and other emergency services and local authority staff for rescue training to deal with fast moving waters, including floods; for canoe polo and water polo matches; as well as for tourist and recreational rafting.
The council inherited George’s Dock from the DDDA in 2016 following the quango’s abolition, and has since tried to find a use for the facility. The dock is currently used for “ very occasional” public events the council said. A large rectangular temporary platform has been built at the centre of the dock, which is considered a “particularly insensitive intervention and in no way justified by the occasional events it accommodates”.
The dock was partially filled in to reduce the water depth and “unfortunately, the reduced water depth has facilitated the growth of algae which detracts from the visual appearance of the dock especially in the summer months”.
The capital cost of the project has been estimated at €12 million, which the council said it will fund from its own resources combined with grants. Ticket sales will be used to fund the ongoing running and maintenance of the facility. The council plans to lodge an application for the project next month.