Originally published in Volume III, Issue 12 on 27th May 1997 by Observer Reporters.
Ducks under threat from proposed development, but college claim that there will be no disturbance reports Observer Reporters.
The UCD Lake, so long a haven for ducks and lunching students, has been designated as the provisional site for the building of a 25 metre swimming pool on campus. The move follows the rejection of an original of an original site beside the Sports Centre by the colleges Buildings and Development Committee. The swimming pool was to have been part of a £7 million pound development project in which the Sports Centre was to be enlarged, a new clubhouse built and a pool complex added.
However, after an investigation of the planned site by quantity surveyors Mitchell Associates, it was found that the site, between the Sports Centre and the Water Tower, would prove unable to support the foundations of any major building. The site is currently a march area, and it was felt that the soil would not be solid enough to support the complex for more than a five year period.
After the survey of the land was accepted by the Buildings Committee in a meeting during March it was decided that it would be wise to search for an alternative site for the swimming pool. After a preliminary survey of the college it was decided last week that the preferred site should be the Lake. The pool complex will be placed at the Science Block end of the Lake, with the other section being separate. This will mean that the ducks currently resident will be unaffected.
According to a spokesperson for the Buildings Committee, the Lake was seen as a natural alternative due to its accessibility as well as the fact that it would take very little extra cost to develop a site that already possess solid foundations and a pump system. It is also, by coincidence, 26.2 metres long, which will make it acceptable for the purpose of attracting swimming competitions from both within Ireland and from Europe.
“It is right at the heart of the campus, which is perfect from the point of view accessibility”, said the spokesperson. “But the fact that we can dramatically reduce costs is an obvious advantage. With so many of the requirements already in place, it was an option we couldn’t afford to overlook. It will mean that we may have a swimming pool in place as early as September 1998, although no firm timetable has been set.”
However the plan has already come under fire from the Students’ Union and environmental groups. The SU Clubs and Societies Officer, Mary Regan, called for a review of the plans. “It is obvious that the college are simply looking for a cheap way to build this pool without examining the real problems. Will the water be clean? How will it affect the wildlife? These are the questions that must be answered.”
The South Dublin convenor of the ISPCA has also called the wisdom of the move into question. “There is no telling just what kind of effect this may have on the ducks and the moorhens currently living in this area,” says Mr. John Mathis. “These are very sensitive birds, and a large scale development on their habitat may disturb them greatly. I would have genuine fears for their health.”
A spokesduck also denounced the idea, claiming that “Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack.”
*This article was a satirical piece published in the final issue of volume III.