Port Ellen Harbour Association (PEHA) have received a grant of £345,173 from the Coastal Communities Fund to install a new pontoon arrangement in Port Ellen Bay. This will increase the capacity of the existing facility by 40%.
Twenty two new berths will be purchased which will allow boats of up to fifteen metres to use the facilities. Market research conducted over the last ten years indicates that boats are getting larger, and the new pontoon will allow PEHA to cater for these larger vessels, therefore opening up the area to a new market of boat users. Further research based on statistics from Tourism Intelligence Scotland and local account figures indicate that the existing visitor pontoon contributes as much as £166,000 to the local economy every year, and this figure is sure to grow considerably with the addition of new berths. Continue reading...
The new arrangement will be positioned in the location of the current visitor pontoons, allowing the existing pontoon structure to be shifted further into the protection of Port Ellen's Leodamus Bay. This will help to protect the older structure from the worst of the elements and preserve its useable lifespan. The addition of a new walkway to access the pontoon system will provide an extra area of shallow, sheltered water where the Islay Rowing Club boats can be moored during the summer season.
PEHA have been supported throughout the application process by Kirsten Laurie, Local Development Officer for South Islay Development, and her assistance has proved invaluable in securing this much-needed expansion project. Both organisations are confident that the new pontoon will result in considerable social and economic benefit for Kildalton and Oa, and the island as a whole.
The funding will also allow for dredging associated with the expansion and the creation of two part-time Harbour Master positions. These individuals will be in charge of overseeing the project, marketing and all tasks associated with the day to day running of the facility. Watch this space for job adverts in the near future.
published with kind permission of the Ileach newspaper