Ambitious plans and proposals for a £90m expansion of the harbour in Mallaig could be in the pipeline after Mallaig Harbour Authority looks set to further investigate final project options and total costings for the proposals to go ahead.
Situated on the North West Coast of Scotland, Mallaig is somewhat of a remote location but is famed for it’s use as a gateway to the Isle of Skye with linked Caledonian McBrayne ferry services between the mainland and the island.
The Press and Journal are reporting that the these ambitious proposals would be phased in within the next 15 years, resulting in continued jobs, the creation of further jobs and also could be the base for renewable energy sources and the timber industry.
Plans to expand the harbour including building facilities for fishing boats and trawlers which in turn could see larger boats berth in the harbour, tripling the exisiting marina with the creation of slipway for the use of watersports and most ambitiously, the facilities for the likes of small cruise ships to berth alongside or their tenders to come ashore in order to attract the tourists to Mallaig, Lochaber and the surrounding areas.
Upgrading the exisiting facilities for passenger only ferries is also set to be part of the plans.
These plans are set to ‘excite’ the local community according to Caol and Mallaig Councillor, Bill Clark. Speaking to the Press and Journal, he said:
“This is all great news for Lochaber. Fort William has had good news recently with the number of cruise ships being lined up for the coming year, and there is a planning application in for a new marina in Corpach. The west coast can be an area for yachts, cruise ships and more small boats. It’s going to keep many more young people in the area. We have been losing young people because of a lack of employment and now with things on the up, we will be able to keep many more. That’s a great thing for the area.”
Echoing Mr Clark’s sentiments, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Fords was delighted at the plans and the scale of them and what that could to the local instrastruture and economy. She 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.
Both the fishing and tourism sectors can be unpredictable because of markets and the weather, so investing a whopping £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.”
The final blueprint for the final plan is expected in the Autumn however there are some hurdles that they will have to pass before the plans are rubber stamped such as if there will be enough rock in order for a new breakwater to be built north of the existing harbour pier and in turn will allow a new berth to built in order to accomodate both ferries and small cruise ships in the harbour.
Featured Image: Mallaig Harbour Authority.
Quotes: Press and Journal.