New all-weather ma­rina project given green light

The Oban Times - - NEWS - MON­ICA GIB­SON mgib­son@oban­

PLANS for a £2.5 mil­lion, 40-berth ma­rina in Cor­pach has been given the go-ahead.

The Highland Coun­cil has awarded plan­ning per­mis­sion to Caol Re­gen­er­a­tion Com­pany, on be­half of the Thomas Telford Cor­pach Ma­rina Project, for a new all-weather yacht ma­rina and pub­lic slip­way at the en­trance to the Caledonian Canal.

An­drew McKenna from Thomas Telford Cor­pach Ma­rina Project (TTCMP), said: ‘It’s ex­cit­ing news for ma­rine tourism on Loch Linnhe – full steam ahead. The steer­ing group has been work­ing hard for months and is grate­ful to the Highland Coun­cil, HIE, LEADER, Crown Es­tates and Scot­tish Canals for their en­cour­age­ment, sup­port and ini­tial funding.’

Katie Hughes, di­rec­tor of es­tates at Scot­tish Canals, added her con­grat­u­la­tions, say­ing: ‘We’re de­lighted that plan­ning per­mis­sion has been granted for the new ma­rina and look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to work with the Caol Re­gen­er­a­tion Com­pany as the project de­vel­ops.’

Mem­bers of the TTCMP held a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion in Kil­mallie com­mu­nity hall last Oc­to­ber to show­case the lat­est de­sign plans for the devel­op­ment, be­fore sub­mit­ting their ap­pli­ca­tion.

Lo­cal busi­ness North­ern Light was com­mis­sioned in Fe­bru­ary to be­gin the process of sourc­ing funding op­por­tu­ni­ties for the project and, at a later stage, to man­age the ten­der­ing process for con­struc­tion con­tracts.

The project is sup­ported by coun­cil­lors Al­lan Hen­der­son and Ben Thomp­son, MSP Kate Forbes and gen­eral elec­tion can­di­date Ian Black­ford, as well as sev­eral key Caol and Cor­pach busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als.

Pre­vi­ously, Mr McKenna said Fort Wil­liam could ac­cess an un­tapped mar­ket due to the fact there are no ma­jor mari­nas be­tween In­ver­ness and Oban. The steer­ing group and many others be­lieve that Fort Wil­liam and Loch Linnhe’s ma­rine tourism fu­ture looks bright when com­mu­nity groups work to­gether to pro­vide com­ple­men­tary vis­i­tor fa­cil­i­ties.

The new ma­rina project fol­lows the re­cent devel­op­ment of pon­toons at the West End which has al­ready al­lowed hun­dreds of cruise-liner pas­sen­gers easy ac­cess to Fort Wil­liam with more vis­its planned for 2017.

With this cruise-liner mar­ket es­tab­lished and de­vel­op­ing fast, the steer­ing group be­lieves it is time to pro­vide first- class ma­rina fa­cil­i­ties for lo­cal and vis­it­ing yachts to­gether with shel­tered slip­way ac­cess for small boats on Loch Linnhe at Cor­pach.

With the ma­rina now able to progress, a Ma­rine Scot­land li­cence is the next stage.

As the project moves for­ward, two dif­fer­ent, but com­ple­men­tary, sec­tors of ma­rine tourism are on the cards for the com­mu­ni­ties around the shore­line of up­per Loch Linnhe be­tween Cor­pach and Fort Wil­liam town.

The steer­ing group says these projects are not just about ma­rine tourism, adding: ‘This is lo­cal en­ergy look­ing to grow our lo­cal econ­omy, work­ing to make Fort Wil­liam an even bet­ter place to live and a great des­ti­na­tion by cre­at­ing qual­ity, well- con­sid­ered fa­cil­i­ties. It’s about po­ten­tial new job op­por­tu­ni­ties and new com­mu­nity eco­nomic ben­e­fits.’

Pho­to­graph: Dig­i­talS­tu­dio, www.wing­

Boudicca through Cor­ran Nar­rows on May 10.

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