Water-ski and wakeboard park planned for Cardiff

April 27, 2012 36 Comments »

An artist’s impression of what the proposed cable and pylons that would make up the water-ski and wakeboarding park next to the Atlantic Wharf housing development

A water-ski and wakeboard park will open in Cardiff city centre under new plans, yourCardiff can exclusively reveal.

The 735m-long cable-tow water ski system is being planned for East Bute Dock, next to the Atlantic Wharf housing development in Butetown.

The 153-year-old dock, once at the heart of South Wales’ industrial revolution, is currently only occasionally used for events such as dragon boat racing.

Cardiff Bay Wakeboarding this week submitted a planning application to Cardiff council. If the plans are approved, operations director Gareth Stevenson hopes the facility will open next March.

Mr Stevenson, a 41-year-old wakeboarding enthusiast from Rhiwbina, said it would be the first water-ski park in the world to be located in a city centre.

He said accessibility, nearby transport links and shelter from the wind made it the ideal location. Tests of the water also showed it was good quality, he added.

“Being in the city centre people will be able to turn-up in whatever they are wearing, hire the equipment, have a session and then go on with their day,” Mr Stevenson said.

“We will be able to run nine people at one time and it’s far cheaper and more accessible than skiing behind a boat. Anybody can have a go, as long as you have the strength to hold onto the cable.”

The idea is that skiers will be taken on an exhilarating three-lap ride of the circuit at 18 miles per hour, with “kickers” and “sliders” for more advanced wakeboarders.

It will operate from late March to the end of October each year. Mr Stevenson said it would be suitable for beginners aged as young as nine through to experienced skiers.

According to the planning application, five 10-metre high pylons to support the cable would be installed in the dock, which fronts onto the Cardiff council headquarters, County Hall.

There would also be 10 land and water-based supporting pylons and a dockside launch ramp next to the boat shed near The Wharf pub.

The plans say the “full potential” of the dock as a leisure resource contributing to the vitality of Cardiff Bay has never been fully realised.

It says the nearest residential development is at Henke Court, but the movement of water skiers will occur “well below” room window-level.

The plans also say a noise assessment showed existing background noise levels, primarily from traffic, means “no disturbance will arise”.

In South Wales, water skiing mostly takes place off Penarth or on certain days in Cardiff Bay. The nearest cable-pull system is an-hour-and-a-half drive away in the Cotswolds.

East Bute Dock is owned by Association British Ports (ABP) and leased to Cardiff council. Mr Stevenson is in talks to sub-lease it from the council.

He is also in talks with Cardiff brewer Brains about using the former boat shed next to The Wharf as the park’s changing rooms and HQ.

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  1. not happy April 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    i own an appartment on Atlantic Wharf and i work nights, i am strongly against this idea and i shall be contacting the resident committee to see what action we can take

  2. not happy April 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    its such a shame the moderators have decided not to post my comment

    • Your Cardiff April 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm - Reply

      Just took us time to get round to it, that's all. We're interested to hear all views on this one.

  3. B James April 27, 2012 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    This will never get off the drawing board as there isn't any parking availabe unless the council release some of the area to north of County Hall

  4. john April 28, 2012 at 5:16 am - Reply

    has anybody thought about the swans, geese, tuffted ducks, coots, kingfishers, dippers, herons, cormorants and great creasted grebes that live on the lake ?

  5. david April 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    the lake is a stunning part of cardiff which should be left alone i often visit the lake to watch the wildlife and also fish the lake this should be left alone and not spoilt by some waterskiers who cant be bothered to drive to cirencester wheres theresloads lakes with all the watersports they need

    • Adam May 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      Perhaps you could drive an hour and half to watch wildlife and fish? Just an idea.

      • Local resident May 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm - Reply

        I think you miss the point – this would seriously affect the habitat of this wildlife!!

  6. david April 30, 2012 at 10:07 am - Reply

    the water at the wharf has been tested many times and in the summer months theres very high levels of toxic algea the water at the moment is very clear and within a few weeks will be almost like pea soup not very nice

  7. Resident May 4, 2012 at 10:25 am - Reply

    I live over the East Bute dock and have some serious reservations about this idea. Whilst it's fair that that the dock should be used in some capactiy for the public, this is obviously a bit much. Dragon boating, fishing competitions, dinghy sailing would all be fine by me. They're low impact and don't generally harm what has become an important wildlife habitat for a variety of water birds and that both locals and the general public all enjoy. I think there's going to be no shortage of residents with strong objections to this plan.

  8. Biffa May 5, 2012 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    I Live in the water quarter flats, personally I dont have a problem with this proposal. It would make for a fun and exciting addition to the bay in keeping with developing the bay area into a centre for welsh sporting excellence.

  9. Gareth jones May 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    This will be very good for Cardiff, an recreation that is in the city will benefit every one. Looking forward to trying it out

  10. Resident May 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    I live next to the docks and I am in support of the idea its about time they did something with the dock. Perhaps with wakeboarding centre they will help keep the dock free from rubbish as it is often neglected. This I think is a larger threat to the wildlife than the wakeboarding!

    • Another Resident May 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      I agree – I run around the dock and there's a lot of litter in there. It's currently a run down and neglected area. I'm looking forward to having a go and think it'll be great for the area and for water sports in Cardiff

  11. Jonathan May 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    I live in central Cardiff and am fully behind this project. It will make good use of an underdeveloped plot of land. I regularly drive the hour and a half to the nearest wakeboard centre and with fuel prices rising sharply ect this would be a brilliant opportunity for a thriving business. I have been visiting these systems for many years and they are a great business venture which is actually far less impacting than many people think. They are nearly silent in operation, with the only noise coming from a small electric motor needed to drive the cable itself. The pylons are often covered over aswell to reduce the visual impact and they generally only require a small sized outbuilding as an office/changing room ect.

  12. Richard Mark May 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    It sounds a great idea. I’ve noticed that the Atlantic Wharf dock has been getting grubby over the years with rubbish building up in the docks and surrounds. Maybe this will make it more usable and pleasant. It should also make Cardiff Council think about doing something about the algae build up problem in the dock (which they also have to manage in the bay). It could end up being a great place.

  13. Tracey Solman May 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    I am a resident and totally opposed to the waterboarding and skiing application. I m a housebound person. The wild life won t stand a chance. Maybe Mr, Stephonson woulg like to swap his home in Rhiwbina with me and then we ll see how positive heould feel having this proposed venture on his very doorstep.

  14. Tracey Solman May 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Maybe Mr Stephenson wants to swap homes with me during the proposed events.

  15. Wakeboader May 13, 2012 at 8:56 am - Reply

    I think that this is a great move for Cardiff city. As there is a strong chance that cable wakeboarding is going to be in the 2020 Olympics it gives the youth of Wales a chance to be part of it. As a semi pro wakeboarder it will now mean that i would not have a two and a half hour drive from Swansea to train. It is in a great location and the amount of people that will come to the city due to the cable system. Over the years i have visited many cable parks and compared to a boat cable is very quiet and all the birds and fish are all OK.

  16. andrew May 15, 2012 at 11:41 am - Reply

    Has anyone thought about the otters that are living and breeding on the wharf, im totally against these plans and have contacted the Cardiff Wildlife Trust, the BBC t.v programme Springwatch are going to be filming down there at the end of the month to film otters living in an urban area, Wakeboading ? NO THANK YOU !!!!

  17. stevepell May 16, 2012 at 8:38 am - Reply

    ' The idea is that skiers will be taken on an exhilarating three-lap ride of the circuit at 18 miles per hour, with “kickers” and “sliders” for more advanced wakeboarders. '

    I did not purchase my appartment to see people whizzing around and screaming and shouting, theres enough noise pollution at the moment without this, Mr Stevenson needs to find somewhere else to do this, NOT IN MY FRONT GARDEN.

    ' Tests of the water also showed it was good quality, he added. '

    The test were taken in early spring this year so they mean nothing ! wait untill the hight of summer when the algae bloom kicks in and the water goes completley green with toxic algae and stagnent, with thick candadian pond weed chocking up the water surface like a carpet.

    • Wakeboader May 18, 2012 at 8:07 am - Reply

      if you have wakeboarders on the water this TOXIC ALGAE will be broken up. i cant believe that people how live in the city centre are up in arms, you live in the city centre!!! between the hours of 8am to 11pm is the noise pollution control time so get over. and due to the resident shouting and beating a drum about something which is clear they have no clue. Someone needs to explain what a cable system is and the impact it has on the wild life. many cable parks during the winter are fishing/stock lakes so where the problem with wildlife.

  18. Huw May 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    This sporting facility will be great for Cardiff. Cardiff has been successful in securing the prestigious title of European Capital of Sport 2014. Having a cable ski near the City Centre and Cardiff Bay will add to the already great facilities available in Cardiff. Wakeboarding has also been proposed for the 2020 Olympics – this would be an excellent training facility for local and national participants. I have used a number of cable sites in the UK and in Europe – there has always been wildlife in and around the sites – the systems are quiet and don't create any pollution. I fully support this proposed Cable site.

    • stevepell May 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm - Reply

      Huw it's o.k for you because it's not outside your appartment, my appartment balcony is over looking the dock.

      I will be seeking legal advice on this matter, this devolopment cannot go ahead

  19. Ian May 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    I'm curious as to how there's so much opposition towards this from local residents. While the Cardiff Docks area has been developed greatly over the past few years (including, I would add, said apartments) the Dock in quetsion has been left untouched. This would bring more trade into the area (and indeed for the Wharf pub) and I would suspect that the noise pollution would not be as bad as people would like to believe.
    Really though, if people genuinely are that concerned about extra footfall and 'noise' then perhaps they shouldn't be living in a city centre location which is a prime area for development.

  20. Resident1 May 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    As a resident living over the dock and having read the planning application put forward by Mr Stevenson I am wholly against this proposal.
    The planning application put forward by “Cardiff Bay Wakeboarding” describes the area in which I and many hundreds of other residents have gladly chosen to live in as a “bleak, desolate unwelcoming area…unmitigated by any meaningful uses…scarcely overlooked with little visual amenity value at all….a hostile area…a neglected space quite intimidating to the casual observer ”. The arrogance and ignorance of this planning application shows the total lack of understanding and respect that Mr Stevenson has for the wildlife, the residents of this area and the wider Atlantic Wharf community. As I look out of my window at a beautiful stretch of clear open water, populated by its numerous nesting birds and waterfowl, enjoyed by walkers, joggers, fishermen and families I am very happy to be a part of this community. Don't let this awful proposal spoil it.

    • stevepell May 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      ^^^^^^^ i agree with every single word ^^^^^^^^^

  21. stevepell May 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    The South Wales Echo are looking for residents to be interviewed for an article showing the residents side to the argument, please contact peter.law@mediawales.co.uk

  22. stevepell May 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    alternativley you can call 02920 243849 ask foMr Peter Law

  23. Tidyup May 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    I wouldn't like to comment either way on the proposal, but I would add that I have taken part in 2 big tidy ups of the East Dock with Cardiff Rivers Group with grappel hooks and almost every time we chucked it in, we pulled out large pieces of razor sharp rusty metal fencing, bikes and trolleys, chairs and car parts. At the end of the second pick we saw a grebe fly through the murky water and there was no way it could have done that before our tidy up. There are plenty of really nice birds down there, but we have also pulled out plenty of dead large carp, a dead fox and a dead cat. I saw nesting coots a couple of weeks ago on the canal collect bits of a plastic bag to line the nest. If it is good now for wildllife, imagine what it would be like with a proper sustained clean up.

    2nd CRG clean up pics can be viewed here: http://flic.kr/p/9FTg6a

    • Bof May 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm - Reply

      Jagged rusty metal? Bikes and trolleys? Looks like a serious series of accidents due! I went rowing in the dock once, and collided with a partly submerged TV bobbing in the water. After that I never went again. I value my safety.

  24. Huw May 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I had a jog around the dock Sunday lunchtime – there's a lot of noise from the dual carriageway and the steel works – a lot more than a cable system would create. I also noticed that no windows or balcony doors were open in Henke Court overlooking the dock – the sun had gone around above the building leaving the Eastern Side in shade. I did notice all the wildlife around the dock – ducks, swans etc, and saw some carp in the water – didn't get to see the otter. I spoke to a guy out on the water in a boat too – he was collecting water samples for a study – they've been collecting samples for 18 months – the water is supposedly clean – he was also collecting litter – there's quite a bit in the water down the bottom end. I still think this is a great idea – and am looking forward to using it.

  25. Simon Rees May 23, 2012 at 9:17 am - Reply

    I am a local resident, and I walk around the East Bute Dock twice daily. It is an important wildlife habitat for breeding pairs of swans, grebes, coots, herons, and has a large population of cormorants, gulls, and visiting Canada geese. In the water, there is a well established population of carp. This environment would in my opinion be severely compromised by the proposed development. The East Bute Dock is a tranquil and beautiful part of an ex-industrial area of the city. It is popular with residents and visitors alike. It also has notices advising that the water is full of toxic blue-green algae. Not what I'd want to go swimming in.

  26. Bof May 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    Deeply unhappy! I note that the businessman lives in Rhiwbina and not on Atlantic Wharf. Why not put in an application for somewhere closer to his home (like Llanishen reservoir) and listen to the howls. If he's so determined to ruin civic amenity, I would suggest the application be made for Roath Park lake.
    People live here, and do not take kindly to the erection of industrial pylons in their backyard so that outsiders can come in, queer our patch for their 30 minutes of fun, and leave us to see this carbuncle for 24/7, 365 days a year.

  27. Annon June 15, 2012 at 8:45 am - Reply

    Those of us who have a view over the water pay extra money for this, and I for one don't want to look out at cranes etc. I will be opposing the development.

    • Huw June 15, 2012 at 10:01 am - Reply

      Sorry – that doesn't make sense – how much extra have you paid and to whom? You must have missed the rusty old crane that's already there – there's nothing in the proposal to put a crane in the dock.

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