Cardiff wakeboarding park approved

February 13, 2013 9 Comments »


Cardiff is to get its own “world class” wakeboard and water-ski park after plans were given the green light by councillors this afternoon.

The proposal from Cardiff Bay Wakeboarding to install a 735m cable-tow waterski system at East Bute Dock, off Atlantic Wharf in Butetown, has caused months of controversy since it was submitted to Cardiff Council in April 2012.

Hundreds of residents in the apartment complexes and houses around Atlantic Wharf lodged concerns about the park, including the amount of noise it would make, the effect on wildlife, the visual impact of the tow system, and increased traffic, parking and congestion problems.

But following months of negotiation to try and address residents’ fears – including changing the location of the system’s supporting pylons, and a promise to remove all the apparatus above the water in the off season from November to April – Cardiff Bay Wakeboarding was finally given the go-ahead today.

Addressing the planning committee prior to the vote, the firm’s operations director Gareth Stevenson said he believed the park would be a great addition to the Welsh capital.

He said: “The system is quiet, non-polluting, and low carbon. The pylons do not front [on to] Henke Court or any other buildings along the bank.

Bute East Dock, where Cardiff Bay Wakeboarding will be opening its park.

Bute East Dock, where Cardiff Bay Wakeboarding will be opening its park.

“Wakeboarding is one of the fastest growing watersports in the world – it’s an inclusive sport, and people continue with the sport throughout their lives.

“It has been shortlisted for the 2020 Olympics, and having a world class facility in Cardiff will enable us to train our athletes to the highest level. Cardiff is the 2014 [European[ Capital of Sport, and having an exciting sporting facility in the Bay will increase tourism and promote a healthy lifestyle.”

But Butetown councillor Ali Ahmed – who took leave of his position as a planning committee member for this application to speak on behalf of his ward – said that while he welcomed some of the alterations Cardiff Bay Wakeboarding had made to their plans, he was still concerned about the effect the attraction would have on car parking on Atlantic Wharf.

However, when it came to the vote, the plans were approved by six votes to three.

The tow system will work by dragging skiers and boarders along an elevated cable, supported by five pylons, around the dock.

The boat shed near the Wharf pub, which is currently used as a gym, will be turned into a reception, office, and equipment store, with a classroom and video presentation area, changing rooms, lockers and shower and toilet facilities.

The wakeboard park will also share a car park with The Wharf, with 18 parking spaces set aside for waterskiers and wakeboarders.

It will operate from late March to the end of October, and while opening hours will vary depending on the number of daylight hours, the longest days will see people able to ski from 9am until 8pm.

Committee member Councillor Adrian Robson said he thought the plans would result in a good regeneration of the disused dock, while Coun Lyn Hudson pointed out that the planning permission is limited to five years, so should any issues arise, its operation could be reconsidered at the end of this.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Stevenson said: “We’ve got a lot of work to do now. There are conditions attached to the planning permission that we need to address, and we will continue with our water quality assessments. We will be engaging with residents and the local councillor to ensure it’s something that will benefit everybody – both the community and the sports people in the area.”

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  1. John Thayer February 13, 2013 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    This is a discrace – should not have been given planning permission. This area is very picturesque with natural surroundings & lots of local birds etc. This development will send all away, not fair to the residents. John

  2. Paul February 14, 2013 at 6:20 am - Reply

    Forget this, what about the new ice rink! Been waiting years for this. Much needed. Absolute joke the council

  3. Graham February 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    This is a total travesty. The vast majority of local residents were against this scheme, totally ignored by the councillors who changed their minds to approve the application after initially turning it down. If the wakeboarding company upgrade the Wharf as promised in their proposal then it may not be such a massive imposition. We await to find out about the noise pollution and added traffic burden. Totally disgusted with Cardiff Council who have let us down again and not listened or respected public opinion.

  4. Robert February 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    That area of Cardiff could use a little livening up. Aside from a few fishermen and people walking their dogs, it's strangely deserted, which is a shame. It sometimes feels almost like a gated community, shut off from the rest of the city. Residents' protests make me think they are keen to keep us plebs out.

    Cardiff's "little Venice" – the canal walk – is woefully undervisited and The Wharf has one of the nicest beer gardens in town, but is rarely busy. Maybe this development will boost the profile of this lovely little corner of Cardiff and get more people to enjoy it. And go "wheeeeeeeee!" while zipping across the water.

  5. Crispychicken February 24, 2013 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Brillant can't wait for this to be in action, we'll be over from Weston when this is up and running!

  6. JustanotherResident March 15, 2013 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    This was a done deal from the start unfortunately. Cardiff Council have been desperate to shuffle off their responsibilities for maintaining the dock area after years of arguing with Associated British Ports over its upkeep and the slender promises of the guy pushing to build this eyesore has given them a convenient solution.

  7. JustanotherResident March 15, 2013 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    I've nothing against wakeboarders or wakeboarding but this whole debacle needs to be put in context. For all the grand talk "world class" facilities and 2020 Olympics it is afterall, just a HOBBY amongst countless others. This will provide a little daytripper fun for those interested in this sort of thing and of course realise the personal ambitions of Mr Stevenson, a man who doesn’t even live in the area he has just taken such a massive stake in. For the residents who live here, have invested in this area and love it as a peaceful wildlife oasis in Cardiff’s centre for all to enjoy this means an eyesore of wires and pylons and the peace of our evenings shattered by screaming riders. A bit of weekend fun and one greedy mans dream weighed against the homes and lives of hundreds of residents and wildlife who have fought this slanderous, bullying application (read it if you doubt this) and its backers over the past ten months only to be mislead and brushed aside by the council.

  8. JustanotherResident March 15, 2013 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    So fine, for those who actually wanted this application to go ahead, click the dislike button to the above comments and shout NIMBY like an idiotic football chant. Come down and enjoy yourselves but when you head home at the end of the day have a little think about whether you’d like something like this slap bang in front of your home? If you do, great! There are afterall dozens of flats around the dock suddenly now available to buy or rent since this application was approved. Maybe Mr Stevenson would like to buy mine?!

  9. Alice March 18, 2013 at 1:22 am - Reply

    There will be less noise coming from the cable park than from every day traffic. Everyone objecting seems to think it will be powered by a huge steam engine with huge bulky pylons. This is not the case at all. So much money has been put into modernising and improving the bay and making it attractive to visitors. This will benefit the capital and the businesses around it.

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