AN ONLINE petition has been launched in a bid to prevent a popular Donegal walkway from being closed off to the public.
There are fears that the scenic walkway at Lough Gartan could soon be shut off to the public.
Last weekend, Churchill-based Independent Donegal County Councillor Michael McBride told Donegal Daily that he had received assurances that this will not be the case.
Cllr McBride said he spoke with management at the Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre after receiving numerous calls from concerned locals.
Now, a petition has been launched and already has over 500 signatories: https://www.change.org/su/p/donegal-county-council-planning-authority-retain-pedestrian-access-to-gartan-outdoor-education/f
“Outdoor amenities are vital for people’s well being and access shouldn’t be blocked,” one person wrote.
Another added: “Absolutely should not be allowed to happen. Have walked this area for years.”
A local runner said: “I run this route regularly and would be so annoyed if I am unable to, this route is good for the heart, mind and soul.”
Another supporter of the petition said: “It has been a right of way for the local people for generations and would like it to remain one for us such a beautiful walk for locals.”
Notice that management of the Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre have submitted planning permission for a new ‘access control fence’ at the site sparked the fears.
The planning application seeks for permission for the provision of a new access control fence with associated gates and landscaping to the edge of the existing access road.
The proposed fence is to be located along the northern edge of the existing road for 625m.
Documents accompanying the application say: ‘The proposal seeks to provide a managed and secure access route to the lough via the existing boathouse or education and training centre.’
Organisers of the petition say that the residents of Churchill and Gartan have enjoyed the walk ‘for several decades’.
Cllr McBride said last week: “I have been assured that then intention is not to block off the avenue or to stop people from walking or cycling.
“I am assured, after putting in a query, that the intention isn’t to block walkers and cyclists, but to protect the property and the safety of the people using the centre.”