New all-weather marina project given green light
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.’
Boudicca through Corran Narrows on May 10.