Re: Mount Melleray Scout Centre Up-date
Our Ref: CEO-OUT 201002
I hope this letter finds you and yours well. We have received some queries and have noted several discussions regarding the status of Mount Melleray Scout Centre. I would like to ensure that all members have the most up-to-date information on what is happening with the Centre, why it is not in use now and the plan to assess the future of the Centre.
Scouting Ireland faced serious challenges concerning Mount Melleray Scout Centre in late 2018 due to significant fire safety concerns raised by the Chief Fire Officer in Waterford. Scouting Ireland began to invest in addressing the immediate fire safety issues. Following this, a Health and Safety review was conducted, and a report was completed in early 2019 that raised even further significant issues. The health and safety issues raised in the 2019 report, coupled with the significant fire safety matters, resulted in the centre being temporarily closed in April 2019 by the CEO. Outdoor camping was accommodated up to the 31st August 2019 to honour existing bookings. In 2020, Scouting Ireland took the operational decision not to provide outdoor accommodation to members for the summer of 2020 due to the provision of resources and Covid-19 challenges.
An independent external assessment of the reports estimated costs associated with remediating the centre to address the Fire Safety and Health and Safety concerns, coupled with roof repairs, is estimated to be €1.5 million. These costs do not consider works arising from other building regulations that may apply to a renovation project at the centre. Also, all works will need to be informed by a conservation plan, as the buildings are protected structures. Furthermore, Scouting Ireland does not have a freehold on the property, which we are obliged to consider in the context of the overall evaluation of the facility. Scouting Ireland has a lease on the property which will expire in 2038.
Overall, this is a significant challenge faced by Scouting Ireland, in addition to many other current financial challenges, all which must be considered in their totality and on a cost-benefit basis.
Scouting Ireland continues to evaluate our options and has engaged with the Abbey and with Waterford County Council to explore what the challenges are and the possible options to meet these challenges.
We endeavour to do our best to work towards reopening Mount Melleray Scout Centre, but unfortunately, it will not be soon as are now faced with yet another challenge which is COVID-19. This will be further compounded as we move into 2021 with projections of COVID-19 restrictions continuing. The financial requirements to bring Mount Melleray up to health and safety standard are, unfortunately, as of now, beyond our capacity.
To further explore how we may meet the challenges at Mount Melleray Scout Centre, a Project Team will be formed to explore possibilities, options and potential sources of funding. Further, it will make recommendations on how we can move forward with the centre. We hope this will provide a solution. This project team will be advertised in the coming weeks at - https://www.scouts.ie/Jobs-and-Opportunities/Volunteer-Opportunities/
We are disappointed that we had to temporarily close the centre but I am sure you will agree that the safety of all members of Scouting Ireland is paramount. Further, we cannot take any shortcuts in the provision of a safe environment for overnights and activities indoors or outdoors. We hope that this update helps you to understand our current situation regarding the centre. Should you have an interest in the future of the centre I would ask that you support the open call for this Project Team. I encourage you to apply when the open call is made should you have the experience and skills we need to best plan for the future use of Mount Mellerary Scout Centre.
Chief Executive Officer
Previous publications regarding Mount Melleray Scout Centre updates by Scouting Ireland:
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