Residents and businesses near Lough Gartan continue to fear the impact that newly-proposed fences will have Gartan Estate, according to Councillor Donal ‘Mandy’ Kelly.
The Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) has applied for planning permission to erect a fence and gates around areas used by course participants of Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre (OETC).
The ETB has insisted that recreational walkers, joggers and cyclists who visit Gartan regularly will continue to have access through the grounds.
However, Cllr Kelly said that local residents are fearful that gates and fencing may cause conflict in the local area.
Cllr Kelly raised an emergency motion with the Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District on Tuesday to ask the council to call on Donegal ETB to review their proposal.
“This is causing huge divisions in our local community, which over the last number of years has had a huge success in strengthening our community with outdoor facilities and playgrounds,” Cllr Kelly said.
Cllr Kelly added that local businesses in the area are fearful that they will be affected by the measures.
“I am asking that the ETB review what they have proposed and to adhere to the voices of the local community, to state exactly what they plan on doing and whether or not this gate is going to be erected, if it is going to affect where people can walk,” he said
“In my opinion, this area should be left as it is and how it has been from day one.”
A local petition for the retention of pedestrian access at Gartan has now gained almost 800 signatures.
A statement was issued by the Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) to confirm that the new fence to be erected at the Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre (OETC) will not impact on walkers, joggers and cyclists who use the facility on a regular basis.
The ETB said that the planned erection of the new fence is in response to safety concerns.
“Over the past period the Gartan Estate has seen a significant increase in the number of people accessing the grounds for recreational purposes,” the ETB said in a statement.
“Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) welcomes the use of the grounds for recreational purposes and has long-term plans to enhance the recreational amenities on the Estate.
“The increased number of recreational users has resulted in health and safety concerns and has placed significant demand on the resources at Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre (OETC).
“In order to ensure a separation between recreational users and course participants on the Gartan Estate, Donegal ETB has applied for planning permission to erect a fence and gates around the buildings, equipment stores and slipways that are used by course participants of Gartan OETC.
“The proposed fence and gates will ensure that recreational users continue to have access through the grounds while protecting Gartan OETC course participants and facilities.
“This additional security feature will address the health and safety concerns and complement the recreational experience of the outdoors for both recreational users and course participants. It will also enhance child protection measures within the estate grounds.”Tags: