Douglas Borough Council has finally been given the green light to progress repairs to the Promenade Marine Gardens, it has confirmed.
Winds of up to 80pmh brought down sections of its wall and caused the gardens to be flooded last December, also damaging the Loch Promenade kiosk and the surface of the children’s play area.
Work to clear up any damage commenced as soon as the storm subsided and the local authority immediately sought to undertake repairs, drawing up a number of options for the rebuilding of the structurally unsound sections.
However, it was advised not to carry out any work until a structural engineer assessed the area and the insurance company concluded its review.
In the meantime, the areas around the collapsed walls were fenced off, with metal barriers put up as a replacement.
After now being told by the loss adjuster it can proceed with a rebuild, the Council has gone out to tender to carry out the work as quickly as possible.
Council Leader Claire Wells explained: ‘It is well documented that, as a Council, we have been frustrated by the time it has taken to hear back from the loss adjuster, especially as we acted so quickly and had drawn up a range of options for remedial work before Christmas.
‘However, we were clearly informed we had to wait for the go-ahead and that beginning work could have jeopardised any pay out.
‘Now the process with insurers about possible compensation claims has been completed, we are determined to carry out this work and, after being given the official approval by Council, it is all systems go.’
Mrs Wells believes any rebuild should fit into wider government plans for a sea wall along the capital's seafront.
‘I said earlier this year that when we are spending ratepayers money, we only want to do it once and we want to do it right so we have held early talks with the Department of Infrastructure as any replacement structures would ideally fit in with plans for flood defences on the seafront and we want to limit the inconvenience.
‘I suspect it will surprise some people that the overall work to rebuild the collapsed sections of Marine Garden walls alone will cost more than £200,000, not just a few thousand as some seem to think. Of course, following Storm Barra, we also need to construct flood protection and accelerate the replacement of the Loch Promenade Play area so overall this is a highly significant investment.
‘We also have to be realistic about timescales as the building industry is chronically understaffed However, we are committing to getting this work done as quickly as possible.’