Doubts have been cast over the planned opening of the €380 million national convention centre in Dublin’s docklands after it emerged that the development does not have required sewerage facilities.
The convention centre consortium, led by Treasury Holdings, was required to build a sewage pumping facility under planning conditions for the development. However, just two months ahead of the centre’s planned opening, construction of the pumping station has yet to begin.
The Spencer Dock development, now known as The Convention Centre Dublin, can hold up to 8,000 people but is currently connected only to the local drainage network which Dublin City Council has said is already operating to full capacity.
The temporary licence granted by the council for the connection to the local sewerage outfall during the construction phase of the development expires at the end of this month. The council said yesterday it is awaiting details of when it was proposed to start building the permanent pumping station.
The centre already has a large number of advance bookings including conferences of the EU Geriatric Medicine Society and the European Dialysis Transplant Nurses Association, both due to take place in September.
Local Labour councillor and member of the advisory council of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority Kevin Humphreys said he did not see how the centre could open without causing major pollution.
“I am deeply concerned and angry that the opening of such a major investment project in Dublin city should be delayed by a lack of planning to put in proper sewerage facilities,” he said.
“Not only does it put in danger a major revenue stream for the city but also risks a serious sewage problem.”
He said Treasury Holdings had acted irresponsibly in not having the pumping station in place, when the centre itself had been largely completed since last April.
It is understood the delay in building the station is due to a dispute over planning issues between Treasury Holdings and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.
Treasury Holdings yesterday said it would build the sewage pumping station as soon as it received approval from the authority.
A spokesman for the authority said it was carrying out due diligence on the application and when all compliance issues had been examined it would make a decision.
The need for a new pumping station, which could pump about 600 litres of sewage per second from the convention centre at Spencer Dock, as well as the North Lotts site, which houses the O2 theatre, to the waste water treatment plant at Ringsend was identified in a Dublin City Council report in 2002.
The new pumping station was the “only viable solution” to the sewerage needs of the docklands area, the council said, and was essential if there was to be any further development at Spencer Dock. The docklands authority subsequently included the pumping station as a requirement of planning consent for the convention centre.
One of the largest events planned for the centre to date, the International Bar Association conference with 4,500 legal delegates, is due to take place in October 2012.