Lough Erne Yacht Club (LEYC) has accused the RNLI of changing its mind over a proposed site for the building of a new boathouse and have claimed that the project would be a “waste of donations”.
The LEYC has hosted the RNLI temporary boathouse on its site for the past 17 years but says that the proposed new site would “have a detrimental effect on the club and sailing in the bay”.
Now, however, the RNLI has made a planning application for a new lifeboat station at Gublusk Bay and in a letter to members, seen by the Impartial Reporter, the LEYC has said that it will be objecting. 
In its letter, by Commodore John Carton, the LEYC has said that it is “disappointed that the RNLI have decided to go ahead with their application to build a boathouse on the shore of Gublusk Bay”.
The letter goes on to say that the situation is “especially disappointing since the RNLI were originally given a site one mile away which would give them more visibility”.
In a statement the RNLI said: “The RNLI have submitted a planning application for the building of a new lifeboat station for Enniskillen RNLI, comprising a boathouse and associated facilities, including the erection of slipway, installation of holding tank, landscaping and associated site and access works on a site at Gublusk Bay.” It has also argued that the current application represents the “best value for money”.
“The RNLI applies the highest standards and practices to all its applications for its facilities. The site chosen, from what was available, is the one that represents the best location and value for money for the Institution.”
That assertion is one that has been challenged by the LEYC who has said in its letter to members: “We also believe that the cost of the new site will be considerably more expensive overall with higher ongoing maintenance and cost and therefore a waste of donations.”
The LEYC also claim that the RNLI have changed their mind over the site of its proposed new station: “When we originally discussed the proposed site with the RNLI they told us that they preferred to build as part of a bigger development as originally it was submitted as part of a bigger development plan. They later changed this to saying that the newer site would give them more visibility and potential footfall despite it being obvious that the original site was much more public facing.”
The LEYC also asserts that the original site it refers to would not require as much dredging as what is being proposed by the RNLI. In its letter however the LEYC stated that “we are supporters of the RNLI and any objection we have is only to the proposed siting of the boathouse and should not be interpreted as any fallout with the local volunteers who we respect and support”.
The RNLI expressed their thanks to the LEYC: “Enniskillen RNLI was established in 2002 and since that time has been operating out of temporary facilities at Lough Erne Yacht Club. The RNLI is extremely grateful to the members of the yacht club for permitting Enniskillen RNLI to operate a 24/7 search and rescue service from there. This application pertains to building a permanent lifeboat station on a suitable site on Lough Erne to replace the existing temporary facilities. This is required to provide full welfare, changing and training facilities to the crew in line with normal RNLI standards.”