Marine Consultant Norman Kean has confirmed Donegal Co. Council has responded to question raised by him in last week’s Derry Journal.
However speaking with the Journal this week Mr. Kean (pictured) suggested some of the responses raised as many questions as answers.
Stating that he would rather see a harbour at Culdaff Bunagee Pier than no harbour there he said in response to his question, “What was the process that led to the conclusion that Bunagee would be the best use of €1.6 million?” Garry Martin Donegal Director of Finance and Emergency Sservices refers to the County Donegal Marine Development Strategy report of 2004, which identified six sites including Bunagee for marina development.
Mr Kean told the Journal: “This report is seriously flawed. For starters, it fails to take any account of the geography, weather and tides of Donegal. But there’s a lot more.”
In regard to his query as to who was consulted in this process Mr Kean says Mr Martin refers to a “full public consultation exercise”,
He comments: “This was carried out prior to February 2004. There was evidently no further consultation before the announcement of the Bunagee project in 2010,
In regard to his concerns whether planning permission been granted Mr Kean said Mr Martin said it not yet been applied for as Marina planning applications almost invariably go to appeal, and that process normally takes well over a year, never mind the even longer delays that may be incurred waiting for a foreshore licence.
In regard to his question if the budget is now €1.3 million where had the balance of €300,000 gone Mr. Martin informed that it went in ‘related costs of planning and other relevant approvals and fees.”
Mr. Kean said this raises another issue in that was it not the case that the project has had to be scaled down because it was initially underestimated?
“Who provided that underestimate? What would the original design actually have cost? Is it still to be a 15-bertmarina, as it was originally described?
In reegard to what happens now Mr Kean said: “The Council hope to begin construction at Bunagee in August 2014, with completion in early 2015. Why are they building a harbour on this exposed coast in winter? Perhaps Mr Martin has supplied the answer to that. If the money isn’t spent at Bunagee by early 2015, it will have to be returned to Brussels. And then what?
“I shall raise no objections to the speedy authorization and completion of this project. But I fear that it will all come to nothing, and I have grave misgivings about the entire way this project has been handled.”