Mallaig harbour to get £90 million upgrade
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.