Cllr. Cillian Murphy, Cllr. Joe Garrihy, Cllr. Shane Talty, & Cllr. Susan Crawford:
“Given the experience of last summer, and the significant influx of visitors expected for this year, that the West Clare MD provide a detailed analysis of the extra human resources required to provide appropriate levels of management, and enforcement of the litter, parking and beach laws, at our coastal amenities, to include projected additional costs and identifying future potential income streams”.
Thank John for his response, and from the outset to acknowledge the extra works that have taken place over the last few years in a number of our coastal resorts and amenities… …
There are a number of things we need to look at here;
- It has become extremely apparent the scale of public services that have been provided up to now by the private sector, I think the first inkling of this was last year when covid rules meant businesses had to keep records of those who came in and out of their premises… that they began to really become aware as to how many people that were not customers were using toilets etc. This has really masked the level of need for local authorities, across the country, to provide such services… and has meant we have had to try and catch up extremely quickly, of course physical infrastructure can take a long time to deliver on the ground so the public frustration starts to show. It must also be reiterated, the need for extra resources and better management of our outdoor spaces is a national issue, every city and county council in the country has faced huge media and public criticism over the past while due to lack of these services
- It is very obvious how successful out tourism team have been at placing Clare to the forefront of visitor choices when deciding where to take their domestic holiday… the very nature of Covid has meant a strong focus on outside activities, and we are blessed with an awful lot of that here in Clare…..
The focus and the success of our marketing means we have a perfect storm….lots of extra people, using our outdoor spaces and a serious deficit in facilities to cater to them….toilets, litter, illegal parking in conservation sites, illegal camping and subsequent damage on protected areas.
So all this success brings with it a responsibility for other sides of the house to ensure all those visitors have a brilliant experience, and go away telling others and promising to come back….a lack of appropriate resources and infrastructure puts this at risk and we have to have a proper plan to deal with it.
Last September I asked for this council to put a motorhome and wild camping policy in place, we didn’t have the resources then to do so…and I accept that….but the lack of one will probably cost us multiples of those resources in management this year.
I accept the cost 10-15k per week is significant, however, I question the cost of not doing it properly in a planned way, piecemeal knee jerk reactions to specific situations will cost us far more than a planned approach to avoiding those situations, there will be a cost to the wider program of works our staff have to deliver regardless, if and when we need to bring in external contractors to do some of that work before budget deadlines and lastly their will be a huge cost to our reputational harm as a great place to visit for families….one that will have far greater consequences to our sustainability as a domestic destination and the tourism operators who rely on that for their own sustainability ….so for me, 10-15k per week is a bargain…if it means across the country we gain a reputation for being the best county on the west coast for how we dealt with the outdoor summer of 2021
Its also important to accept, if we are providing higher levels of services, and there is increased costs… we have to look at our own opportunities to mitigate those costs, we have multiple car parking spaces, some of them in our busiest coastal resorts, that are free of charge, … I for one accept fully this will have to change…and the sooner the better in my view
An amazing asset, beautiful blue flag beach… but it’s not being served well by the infrastructure that is in place there
What I’m looking for here is to assess the basic requirements for a BF beach, to audit the Whitestrand against that set of requirements and put in place a multi annual plan to ensure they can be delivered upon… some will be big and costly, and require large scale national funding schemes to deliver such as coastal protection etc….some will be small easy wins and might come from our own budget or dare I say it be supported through our GMA…. Others may well be deliverable through specific funding schemes to increase accessibility for instance
Extremely dangerous, and leaving us wide open for claims here….