Enjoying the fun on Aqua Splash in Dromineer last summer
Planning conditions being imposed by Tipperary County Council are being blamed for Aqua Splash not going ahead in Dromineer this summer.
The fun water activity drew thousands of children and their parents to the lakeside village last summer, providing a major boost to local businesses, and creating 14 seasonal jobs in 2016.
“However,I am disgusted and horrified that it is not going ahead this year,” Cllr Seamus Morris told the Tipperary Star. “It is embarrassing.”
The Sinn Fein councillor claimed that Tipperary County Council had decided to make it a condition of planning that the operators of the activity pay for the upgrading of the village's toilet block.
“The council obviously looked on the operator as a cash cow,” he said.
Cllr Morris said that the operators of Aqua Splash felt that there was now not enough time left in the season to go ahead with the activity this year.
“I am horrified that the council put this blockage in place. They should be begging and encouraging people like this to come in. Instead, we are nearly frightening them off,” said Cllr Morris.
Local businessman Declan Collison backed Cllr Morris's claims that the council was at fault for Aqua Splash not going ahead this summer.
"The council cannot have it both ways. Tipperary County Council claims to support and encourage the development of tourism businesses in the Lough Derg area, particularly eco-friendly tourism. But the reality is that Tipperary County Council is putting unnecessary road blocks in the path of a man who has a first class record in enterprise and job creation, a Tipperary native with a long association with Dromineer," he aid.
Mr Collison, who operates Lough Derg House accommodation and the Lake Cafe, said that from a personal point of view it meant cancelled room sales and a reduced number of people visiting his business.
"It appears that Tipperary County Council is against the development of eco-tourism on Lough Derg," said Mr Collison.
The Tipperary Star understands that there was one local objection to the activity going ahead this summer, but that objection was dismissed by the council.
A spokesperson for Aqua Splash told the Tipperary Star in a statement that they were disappointed that they could not open this year.
“We feel it has affected the local community as we got excellent feed back from the public and residents around Dromineer and Nenagh,” they said.
The spokesperson said that they had tried their best to get open this season.
“Every time we get over one hurdle there is another in front of us. All this has become extremely costly especially for a small seasonal business,” they said.
In a statement to the Tipperary Star, Tipperary County Council said there was a live planning application in respect of this activity before the council.
The council has looked for further information and the onus was on the developer to respond.
“As this is going through the planning system and no decision has as yet been made on the application it would be inappropriate to comment on this matter,” the council said.