THE first sod has been turned at Shepperton Lakes, near Skibbereen, to make it a wheelchair accessible amenity.
The upgrade will include a fishing platform with all the safety features which will allow anglers in wheelchairs to fish on the lake, as well as a fully accessible car park.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officers in West Cork have been collaborating with the Irish Wheelchair Association in Clonakilty for the last five years so their service users can experience the joy of fishing at this lake.
John Twomey, assistant inspector for IFI in West Cork, said: ‘The major stumbling block has been the rough terrain at the lakeside which posed access issues for the service users.
‘Last March Minister Heather Humphreys announced that €16m in funding was to be granted for 14 large scale projects. IFI has secured €0.5m of this funding for schemes in Cork, Mayo, Leitrim and Galway.
‘The aim of this funding is to improve infrastructure, safety and sustainable access for anglers to enhance their experience and enjoyment of outdoor recreational pursuits.’
Along with John Twomey, the IFI team comprising Sean Long, Barry O’Connor and Catherine Dwane have successfully brought the project at Shepperton to the stage where groundworks can now commence.
The team extend their thanks to landowner Gerard O’Donovan who has kindly donated the use of the site to IFI, and also to Eleanor O’Reilly, the sporting rights owner of the lake.
IFI West Cork is currently involved in similar collaborations with Bantry Respite Centre and Rehab Bantry at Lough Bofinne in Bantry.