Killyleagh Yacht Club owns the land down to the high water line, as well as the slipway and jetty to the far side of the dinghy park. When the fencing around the dinghy park was originally erected, the then committee chose to leave the pathway open to enable access beyond our property and so the path you refer to is not a right of way. While we as a club appreciate that many residents and visitors have used this path for many years, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have been given very clear guidance from the government, SportNI, and RYANI, that we have a responsibility to protect our members as much as possible in order to facilitate a safe return to water-based activity.
With the Assembly recently relaxing lockdown to permit limited outdoor socially distant contact, it was observed that groups of youths (up to 20+, not the maximum 6 permitted, now increased to 10) were gathering in the area to swim and drink alcohol (and leave their empties and other litter behind), and were not socially distancing. These non-members were effectively preventing our members from using the club’s private property to launch tenders to enable them to access their boats which have finally been able to leave winter storage, while safely adhering to the government guidance regarding gatherings and social distancing. At best, this is a deterrent for members to make use of the club facilities for which they pay an annual subscription, and at worst it represents a worrying health and safety risk both at touchpoints, and for the kind folk who cleaned up the mess afterwards.
There was much discussion within the committee and it was decided that we had no option but to erect this new fencing to restrict non-members’ access to our property in order to fulfil our duty of care to the membership. We appreciate that people enjoy walking in this area however, regrettably, it is not possible to use this path as a shortcut to the beach beyond Killyleagh Yacht Club property at this time, though it may still be accessed from the Shore Road if anyone remains very keen to do so.