His­toric day

The Oban Times - - Front Page - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

TOBER­MORY made his­tory at the week­end when the vil­lage took over re­spon­si­bil­ity for run­ning its own har­bour.

TOBER­MORY was cel­e­brat­ing last Fri­day af­ter its har­bour as­so­ci­a­tion was granted an or­der to be­come the au­thor­ity within Tober­mory Bay.

The or­der ex­tends from MacBrayne’s Pier on one side of the bay to Aros Pier on the op­po­site side. The statu­tory pow­ers to op­er­ate Tober­mory Har­bour were an­nounced by min­is­ter for trans­port and the is­lands, Humza Yousaf, MSP, dur­ing a visit to the is­land.

The Har­bour Em­pow­er­ment Or­der (HEO) gives Tober­mory Har­bour As­so­ci­a­tion the le­gal and reg­u­la­tory frame­work to man­age the bay and as­sets on be­half of res­i­dents and busi­nesses on Mull, as well as other stake­hold­ers.

Mr Yousaf said: ‘By grant­ing this Har­bour Em­pow­er­ment Or­der, we have con­ferred statu­tory har­bour au­thor­ity sta­tus on the Tober­mory Har­bour As­so­ci­a­tion.

‘It is best placed to make the im­por­tant de­ci­sions about the future of the har­bour.

‘This for­mal grant­ing of pow­ers will al­low it to man­age the har­bour more ef­fec­tively and progress a long-term vi­sion for the fa­cil­ity that is in the best in­ter­ests of the res­i­dents of Mull and har­bour users.

‘The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to em­pow­er­ing our is­land com­mu­ni­ties and this is a great ex­am­ple of pro­vid­ing greater com­mu­nity con­trol at a lo­cal level.

‘We recog­nise the im­por­tance of Mull and the strate­gic na­ture of the har­bour here.’

Chair­man of Tober­mory Har­bour As­so­ci­a­tion Brian Swin­banks said: ‘This is a huge step for­ward for us and for ev­ery­one who lives and works around our iconic and very colour­ful har­bour.

‘The new har­bour au­thor­ity will be a com­mu­nity-run and com­mu­nity-driven or­gan­i­sa­tion. It will be ded­i­cated to build­ing fa­cil­i­ties for all, ben­e­fit­ing lo­cal boat own­ers, fish­er­men and char­ter boats, our won­der­ful is­land of Mull and the wider west coast of Scot­land.

‘The Har­bour Em­pow­er­ment Or­der also brings se­cu­rity to the next phase of our plans to cre­ate a wel­com­ing and safe hub port at Tober­mory, where vis­i­tors can en­joy our is­land hos­pi­tal­ity as they pre­pare to sail to the more re­mote com­mu­ni­ties be­yond Ard­na­mur­chan.

‘There are so many peo­ple to thank for get­ting the THA to where we are now.

‘Spe­cial men­tion should be made of Lorna Spencer of CMAL, which has an in­ter­est in the pier but who stepped back and al­lowed the ap­pli­ca­tion for the au­thor­ity to be made for the full area – in­clud­ing the MacBrayne Pier.

To Mr Yousaf, Mr Swin­banks said: ‘The gov­ern­ment has helped us to cre­ate a port hub. We are the last safe har­bour be­tween the main­land and the West­ern Isles.’

Board mem­bers at THA out­lined the progress made to date on the har­bour.

John MacDonald raised con­cerns about a £4.5 mil­lion short­fall in fund­ing for a new project that will fur­ther in­crease the ca­pac­ity of the pon­toons and the in­stal­la­tion of a fuel tank.

Mr Yousaf, who was ‘in­cred­i­bly im­pressed’ with the work of THA, said he would raise the mat­ter with High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

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