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Douglas’s marine gardens good as new after storm damage

Douglas promenade walls repaired after storm damage sustained during the winter, below

Douglas promenade walls repaired after storm damage sustained during the winter, below

  • by John Turner
 

The marine gardens on Douglas seafront should look even better than they did before the destruction of storms and high tides earlier this year.

Work to rebuild the section of gardens near the Gaiety Theatre after waves smashed down the stone walling and flooded the flower beds finished last week.

David Hewes, the council’s head of parks, said they had taken the opportunity to do some redesigning at the same time to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Archibald Knox’s birth.

‘Garden number six is being designated the Archibald Knox garden. Some of the work will be done through the autumn and winter but we have already laid out the garden to reflect some of his designs. Flower beds have been reshaped so visitors will see the effect of that. We have tried to reflect some of his scrolls, symmetrical designs and art work. It should look pretty good and more will be done later in the year.’

The longer-term plan is also to to refurbish the lion’s head fountain in the gardens, which are 80 years old this year.

Mr Hewes said work was being done to restore the water flow and provide an electricity supply to power it.

The garden itself has survived the dousing in salt water remarkably well, he added: ‘Fortunately the drains had been cleared recently so it drained away quickly and then we had heavy rain which washed the salt out of the soil, The grass is looking green so we are optimistic there was no serious damage done.’

The wall itself, which was demolished by the water, has been rebuilt with 30 tonnes of the original stone which was cleaned and reused.

Borough engineer Ian Clague commended the work saying the builders had done an excellent job.

‘It’s not the first time this has happened but it’s certainly the most severe – the biggest stretch that I can remember being demolished,’ he said.

Douglas was not the only part of the island to receive a battering in the storms with flooding and sea wall damage in other areas too.

A large hole opened up near the Old Grammar School in Castletown and the repair scheme is nearing completion after six-weeks. Private sector contractors carried out the work on behalf of Castletown Commissioners who are picking up the majority of the bill. Repairs on Mooragh Promenade in Ramsey are due to be done soon.

Design work has been completed by the DoI and a tendering process for the work is about to get under way.

 

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