Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why not a Municipal Marina for Cobh?

The Cobh Marina story rumbles on and is likely to rumble on for at least another 18 months to 2 years as another attempt is made by the developers of the proposed marina to get planning approval. The mood of the meeting at the Commodore Hotel last Friday night was fairly definite - "get the objectors to change their minds". Any renewed planning application will require changes in the plan - that's how the planning laws work.

So where to from now. It seems to me that the main point of objection was the 200 apartments and the hotel/bar complex on site. There were also questions about the foreshore but the real crux was the accommodation and ancilliary buildings. It also seemed to me that while the objectors are standing firm, the pro-marina lobby were also fairly stuck fast on the single proposal of a residential style marina to be built by the present developer and nobody else.

When the possibility of building a marina without the apartments and hotel was raised it was dismissed out of hand - it would cost at least €5 million said the Mayor. Sounds like peanuts to me in today's Ireland. Surely it would be worth considering at least?

Now to the idea of a Municipal Marina - that is one built by the town itself without a developer. Impossible? It would be a loss-making disaster? Well Cork City has a very successful and popular Municipal Golf Course at Mahon, that's not a disaster and municipal marinas are quite common around the world, most of all in that bastion of big business and private enterprise the United States of America. Indeed the US state with the biggest number of publicly owned marinas is Florida - one of the wealthiest places in the world per capita.

Take for example Titusville, Florida - population 42,0
00. It has a municipal marina (see photo) built and run by the city - and did not require the building of hundreds of apartments. It has full facilities for boat repair, chandlery, fuel, etc.
Clearwater, Florida and Leamington, Ontaria (Canada) and Las Dunas (Spain) are other examples of successful city or town run marinas. There are also municipal marinas around various parts of the United Kingdom.

Wouldn't work here you say? Well Kilrush County Clare has a municipal marina, so has Mountshannon on Lough Derg, both much smaller communities than Cobh.

Cobh needs a Marina, but why not be a bit more open minded on the options available?

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