Galway City Council are looking to continue the growth of sand dunes on Grattan Beach in Salthill, and to protect the existing sand dunes and beach from erosion. To help achieve this they have planned a series of workshops in November and December for stakeholders to provide input into a pilot engagement process on the future of Grattan Beach and its dune system.
The workshops will be hosted by Galway City Council and Arup, which is a collective of designers, consultants and experts working across 140 countries. The aim is to build a shared vision for Grattan Beach and the dune site as a ‘Living Lab’ attraction for Galway city, implementing nature-based solutions that will be used as an exemplar for similar future works within the city as it has been successfully implemented in other localities in Ireland, like e. g. Bertra Beach (Co. Mayo), Gurteen & Dogs Bay (Co. Galway) and the Maharees (Co. Kerry). The hope is that stakeholders will take this opportunity to explore how individuals, businesses and the whole community can contribute towards the implementation of the nature-based solutions for this site.
The workshops will be held in the form of online and in-person sessions using an open and collaborative approach to ensure that the community is fully involved in having a say on the future of the beach.
The workshops will give the stakeholders the opportunity to:
- Shape the Grattan Beach and its dune site transformation scheme.
- Share views regarding future uses, improvements, and management of the beach.
- Discuss what stakeholders think would help develop the area socially, environmentally, and economically.
The above will be fundamental for how Galway City Council achieves the following outcomes through these workshops:
- Contribute to City Council actions on climate change, biodiversity, and community engagement.
- Develop a national demonstration site for nature-based solutions.
- Engage the local community as guardians for the natural surroundings.
The first online workshop was held on November 17th: it was an online session with emphasis on Non-Government Organisations and it saw an enthusiastic participation by the workshop attendees.
Through a series of questions posed by the workshop organisers, the attendees acknowledged the value of the site, that can be seen in its proximity to the city, the access it gives to walking and swimming amenities also to families, and its rich biodiversity which makes it an ideal scenario for outdoor educational activities with schools and the general public. However, the attendees also pointed out that Grattan Beach faces several challenges besides erosion, like e. g. low water quality, littering and the lack of a wheelchair access.
When asked about their vision for Grattan Beach and its dune site, the workshop participants raised some main points, i. e.:
- The importance of not removing the seaweed washed up on the shore in order to stop the sand being blown off onto the Promenade and road;
- The need for signage focused on informing the public about the dunes;
- An increase of educational activities focused on coastal erosion and the nature-based solutions to counteract it, including workshops on marram grass planting.
Finally, the attendees expressed their hope that the nature-based solutions planned by Galway City Council for Grattan Beach and the dune Site will bring about the establishment of a larger dune system, an increase in the biodiversity levels of the area as well as an increase of stakeholder and public engagement.
There is still time for anybody who is interested in the future of Grattan Beach to take part in the stakeholder engagement process. Galway City Council has organised two additional workshops to which anyone who wants to be involved can participate. These include:
- An online session with emphasis on Government Bodies and Statutory Authorities on November 24th, 3-5pm
(Please RSVP by following this link to the Eventbrite page by 12 noon on the 24th of November to receive the online meeting link);
- An in-person session with emphasis on Local Community & Businesses to be held in Salthill Hotel (Aran Suite) on December 7th, 5-7pm (Please RSVP to email@example.com by 12 noon on the 7th of December to secure your seat at the venue).