In­vest­ment vi­tal to im­prove ferry route

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

FUR­THER in­vest­ment and on­go­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion are be­ing sought by stake­hold­ers to im­prove a ferry route near Skye.

Cale­do­nian Mar­itime As­sets Ltd (CMAL) is cur­rently hold­ing pub­lic meet­ings regarding the de­sign and build of the new dual fuel ves­sel for the Uig tri­an­gle route and to dis­cuss Uig, Tar­bert and Lochmaddy har­bours.

Ac­cord­ing to Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Al­lan and Skye, Lochaber and Bade­noch MSP Kate Forbes, concerns over in­vest­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion were raised by com­mu­nity groups and busi­nesses at the meet­ings. In past years, sig­nif­i­cant ser­vice dis­rup­tion on the Uig tri­an­gle has been at­trib­uted to the pier’s align­ment, prompt­ing the pair to write jointly to CMAL to urge in­creased in­vest­ment in Uig pier.

Alasdair Al­lan said: ‘It was clear to me from meet­ing people who at­tended the re­cent meet­ing held by CMAL in Lochmaddy, that there are concerns about the abil­ity to bring ves­sels along­side in Uig, par­tic­u­larly in a south-west­erly wind. This can ob­vi­ously be dis­rup­tive to pas­sen­gers com­ing from Uist and Har­ris.

‘ With £97 mil­lion be­ing spent by the Scot­tish Govern­ment on two new duel fer­ries – one of which is ear­marked for the Uig tri­an­gle – it makes sense changes are made to Uig to make it more ac­ces­si­ble. I would urge CMAL to con­tinue to en­gage with the com­mu­ni­ties about plans for im­prove­ments at Uig.’

A CMAL spokesper­son thanked the com­mu­ni­ties for their time and feed­back at the meet­ings and said the align­ment of the pier at Uig is be­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­gated.

She added: ‘We know har­bour im­prove­ments are needed – the ar­rival of the new ves­sel is ac­cel­er­at­ing the process. How­ever, we do not know what work will be re­quired or costs un­til in­ves­ti­ga­tions have been com­pleted at each har­bour. We ex­pect to have the in­ves­ti­ga­tion work com­pleted by June or July 2017.

‘We are com­mit­ted to keep­ing com­mu­ni­ties in­formed and fur­ther pub­lic meet­ings are planned for Septem­ber and up­dates will be avail­able on our web­site. The har­bour at Uig is owned by High­land Coun­cil and the cost of any fu­ture work will be cov­ered by the coun­cil as the owner.

‘Like­wise, at Lochmaddy, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will cover the cost. CMAL owns the har­bour at Tar­bert and we will pay for any work re­quired there. The cost of har­bour up­grade work is cov­ered by har­bour dues.’ High­land Coun­cil told the

Lochaber Times it an­tic­i­pates the scope of works and the de­liv­ery pro­gramme will be es­tab­lished by June/July.

It will be con­sult­ing fur­ther to show the de­vel­op­ment of the pro­pos­als and mit­i­ga­tion works and seek fur­ther stake­holder and pub­lic com­ments.

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