Clontarf Promenade Development and Flood Defence Project: Update
Residents and visitors to Clontarf may be interested in the progress being made by the Clontarf Residents’ Association and the Clontarf Business Association alongside the officials of various departments in Dublin City Council to ensure the long term sustainability of the promenade environment, not just in terms of protection from tidal flood but also as an amenity for the city.
Below is the joint statement issued by the parties involved in a workshop to discuss the next steps in planning the Clontarf Promenade Development and Flood Defence Project.
Joint statement from CRA/CBA and DCC 4th March 2013
“Since the decision was made on 5th. December 2011 not to proceed with the proposed Clontarf Flood Defence Scheme, Dublin City Council’s Environment & Engineering Department has been working with the Clontarf Residents Association and Clontarf Business Association.
Arising from these discussions, a workshop was held on 23rd. October 2012, attended by these Groups and by DCC and facilitated by an agreed Independent Facilitator. An Agreed Report was produced by the Facilitator and this will be placed on the websites of Dublin City Council and the Clontarf Residents and Business Associations shortly.
In relation to next steps, it was agreed at the Workshop that a small working group representing a multi-disciplinary team from DCC, together with the local residents and business groups, would be put in place to examine what options were available that would adequately address the coastal flood risk, while being also acceptable to the local interest groups. This was set out in the following agreed statement:
“Dublin City Council, The Clontarf Residents Association (CRA) and Clontarf Business Association (CBA) thank Mr. George Ryan, independent chair for completing his report on a joint workshop and intend to set up a joint working group to explore options for a Clontarf Promenade Development and Flood Defence Project based on the recommendations of the workshop”
The first meeting of this Joint Working Group was held on 21st. February 2013 and further meetings are planned.”
The following is an extract from the report of the Clontarf Flood Defence Scheme Project Inception Workshop held on 23 October 2012.
Referring to the DCC motion of 5th of December 2011 which calls on the City Manager to begin planning a new Clontarf Flood Defence, the report and recommendation of the City Manager and the vote of the City Council, the following conclusions are substantially agreed by stakeholders and will inform the next steps in developing a new flood defence project.
Shared understanding of Clontarf flood risk
There is a general acceptance from all participants of the risk of coastal flooding in Clontarf. The community of Clontarf values the promenade as an amenity close to the city but there is also an acceptance of the need for flood defences. The height of the flood defence must be sufficient to prevent the sea flooding the land and must also be of a sufficient height such that any water coming over the defence, due to wave overtopping will not also cause flooding damage. While minor flooding of the promenade by wave overtopping does not pose a threat, major flooding of the promenade by wave overtopping does pose a flood risk. Definitive flood defence design for the 3km stretch depends on the nature of the risk impact and the amenity value of the receiving environment.
Identification of funding sources and procurement process
OPW funding requires that certain standards of flood protection are provided and these standards are very rarely lowered. Funding for the project may need to be sourced beyond the OPW as this is likely to be limited to the cost of potential flood damage.
The procurement process is crucial to the success of this multi-disciplinary project and should not fix on one solution early but be open to creative solutions that achieve the best environmental outcome while meeting the requirements of the brief.
A design competition should be considered as a means of achieving this. All stakeholders including DCC and the CRA/CBA should be involved in all stages of the procurement process. Procurement of consultants for a design competition requires budget approval from OPW, who have indicated that they require evidence that the community will support a revised scheme and flood defence heights and that it meets OPW requirements that any scheme is cost beneficial.
The agreement to change the name of the project to the Clontarf Promenade Development and Flood Defence Project is perceived as a major step forward and it shifts the emphasis and the source of possible funding to the wider objectives of city and tourism.
Multi-disciplinary projects, whatever their nature, are challenging but ultimately more likely to succeed in meeting their brief and being embraced by the public. In order for the project to progress along inter-disciplinary lines and to be successful in the long term, DCC should establish the most appropriate structures involving an interdepartmental team led by the appropriate department and a strategy for continued maintenance.
The survey undertaken by CRA/CBA has enormous value, can feed into the design process and could be extended beyond Clontarf residents to include other users of the amenity such as city-dwellers and tourists.
The Clontarf Promenade has developed organically and, while it has many strong elements particularly regarding passive surveillance and security, there are issues regarding landscaping, planting, seating and pathways that could be improved. The existing conditions at Clontarf Promenade are a good example of an environment that is safe due to passive methods inherent in its layout and any future design should not lose this benefit.