Mal­laig harbour to get £90 mil­lion up­grade

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

A £90 MIL­LION master-plan to make Mal­laig a more at­trac­tive place to live, work and do busi­ness has been re­vealed.

Mal­laig harbour is run by Mal­laig Harbour Author­ity (MHA) which has been work­ing on a pro­posal for dra­matic over­haul.

The pur­pose of the mas­ter­plan is to pro­vide a struc­tured frame­work for the phys­i­cal devel­op­ment and trans­for­ma­tion of Mal­laig Harbour over the next 20 years.

Prior to the master-plan be­ing re­leased, a range of con­sul­ta­tion ac­tiv­i­ties were car­ried out to asses how best to de­liver so­cial ben­e­fits for Mal­laig, the sur­round­ing area and con­nected com­mu­ni­ties. If re­alised, it would lead to a re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of the water­front in­clud­ing pro­vi­sion for wa­ter sport ac­tiv­i­ties, im­prove­ment in in­fra­struc­ture for fer­ries and al­low vis­its by cruise ships.

The plan has been set out in five stages with the mod­erni­sa­tion of fuel points to be im­ple­mented in years one to three, a 150-berth ma­rina in years nine to 11 and a leisure slip­way in years 12-20.

It sets out po­ten­tial part­ner­ships and seeks to rely on a range of na­tional and re­gional poli­cies and frame­work in­clud­ing HIE and HITRANS.

MHA be­lieves the plan will im­prove ser­vices and help safe­guard cur­rent jobs - 18 re­lat­ing to aqua­cul­ture and 17 in the boat­yard.

The al­ter­na­tive, ac­cord­ing to MHA, would se­verely hin­der any eco­nomic ben­e­fits mov­ing for­ward and lead to a grad­ual de­cline.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Mal­laig Harbour Robert MacMil­lian said: ‘If we can get a big­ger harbour it makes a huge dif­fer­ence to op­er­a­tors com­ing into the port. The aim is to get bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties to at­tract new busi­ness to the harbour. This sees the way for­ward for Mal­laig harbour for the next 10 to 15 years and af­ter nine months of con­sul­ta­tion we want to cel­e­brate the fact we have this master-plan.’

Harbour chair­man Char­lie King com­mented: ‘We have a duty to safe­guard the fu­ture of the harbour which, as we all know, is the key to the pros­per­ity of the vil­lage.’

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Bade­noch, said: ‘The plans could make a huge dif­fer­ence to the ferry ser­vice as the re­vamp will al­low big­ger fer­ries, cruise lin­ers and cargo ships to berth in deeper wa­ter within the decade.

‘We have to do more to en­sure our ferry ser­vice is ro­bust and re­li­able for years to come. Part of the prob­lem to date is that fer­ries are re­stricted by the in­fra­struc­ture. This could change that. I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted that £90m is be­ing in­vested in Mal­laig harbour – not just for its own sake, but be­cause of what it means for fish­ing, tourism and other jobs.

‘Both the fish­ing and tourism sec­tors can be un­pre­dictable be­cause of mar­kets and the weather.

‘So in­vest­ing £90m will help to se­cure more sus­tain­able ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties and that is fan­tas­tic news. I wel­come any and all in­vest­ment in the West High­lands. We’ve got stun­ning scenery that draws vis­i­tors, we’re a renowned source of seafood and we’re home to lots of small, en­tre­pre­neur­ial busi­nesses.

‘But it does need in­vest­ment to un­lock our full po­ten­tial and I hope the plans for Mal­laig harbour will do ex­actly that.’

The plan is avail­able on­line via the MHA web­site with hard copies avail­able at the li­brary.

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