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wet 'n' wild Council urged to swap white-water rafting plan for outdoor pool complex

The heated fresh-water swimming pool was suggested last summer but there has been little sign of progress on the idea since.

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The proposed outdoor swimming pool development in Dublin is viewed by some as more beneficial to the city than a white-water rafting facility.

The proposed outdoor swimming pool development in Dublin is viewed by some as more beneficial to the city than a white-water rafting facility.

The proposed outdoor swimming pool development in Dublin is viewed by some as more beneficial to the city than a white-water rafting facility.

An outdoor public swimming pool in Dublin city centre is still a possibility, despite the council prioritising plans for a white-water rafting facility.

But opponents of the white-water facility say the ideal solution would be to swap one for the other, with the pool being the preferred option.

The heated fresh-water swimming pool was suggested last summer but there has been little sign of progress on the idea since.

In a statement, however, a local authority spokesperson said it remained on the agenda.

“Dublin City Council is still considering the next steps in relation to the sea pool complex,” it said.

“It is hoped that we will develop the outline design of the proposal further during 2021.”

However, the spokesperson added: “I do not envisage an expressions of interest or invitation to prospective developers to submit proposals to design, build, operate and finance this project to be published during 2021.”

City officials and councillors are under growing pressure to abandon the idea for the white-water centre at George’s Dock near the International Financial Services Centre. This is due to concerns over the growing cost estimates and fears that the price of admission would be too high for the average person.

The expected cost has doubled from around €13m to €25m in the past year, although the council points out that the revised estimate includes conversion of a disused docklands building and installation of a new wastewater treatment plant, which were not part of the early plans.

Proposals for a €15m outdoor swimming pool beside the Sean O’Casey Bridge, between Custom House Quay and North Wall Quay, were presented to the council last summer.

They are based on similar facilities in Helsinki, Paris, Berlin and other European cities which include saunas and cafes.

The proposal sees the pool as helping to create a cluster of tourist and visitor attractions in the area which also hosts the diaspora museum EPIC, the Jeanie Johnston, and the proposed white-water rafting centre.

A petition launched at the weekend, however, calls on the council to scrap the white-water proposal and locate the swimming pool at George’s Dock instead.

The online petition on Change.org, which attracted close to 1,000 signatures in two days, argues the pool would be much more accessible to the wider community and would be a better use of public money.

The white-water rafting centre has gone to tender, seeking construction companies to submit proposals and costings to build the facility. The deadline for submissions has been set for February 22.

Dublin City Council has said progressing the project beyond choosing the best submission will be subject to finding the money to proceed.

Some opponents have argued the expenditure is unacceptable while there is a housing and homelessness crisis in the city, although the council has said the money would be sourced mainly from tourism and sports funds not transferrable to other uses.

Other critics have said if that is the case, the pool should be prioritised, particularly if the Markievicz indoor public swimming pool on the opposite quay closes to make way for the development of Metrolink, as currently planned.

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