Findochty pontoon replacement project gets under way at last
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THE long-awaited replacement of the old pontoons at Findochty Harbour has begun.
Contractors Strath Civil began work last Monday to strip out the pontoons, which were past the end of their lifespan and in a poor overall condition.
It is a move which has been warmly welcomed by local councillors Sonya Warren, Gordon Cowie and Tim Eagle.
Councillor Warren said: "It's been a long time coming and taken years of effort so it's wonderful to see work actually starting on removing the old pontoons and installing new ones.
"This is something local boatowners have been lobbying for over a long period of time.
"Hopefully these new pontoons will make mooring at Findochty Harbour a far better experience for all those concerned and I'm looking forward to seeing the end results."
Councillor Cowie said the project would hopefully herald the start of a "new era" for the harbour.
"It's great to finally see this project coming to fruition," he continued.
"We have waited a long time but it's finally here with the removal of old pontoons in progress and with the contractor now in place hopefully summer will be the start of a new era as regards to berthing at Findochty Harbour.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the boatowners for their patience and understanding during these troubled times and hope all goes well with the installation of the new pontoons."
Councillor Tim Eagle welcomed the news but said he was working to ensure there was maximum transparency during the project.
He said: "Following years of fighting for improvement at Findochty I am delighted to see this work moving forward to improve the harbour.
"This will be a real asset for the community.
"However, I remain in discussions with the council about ensuring community engagement is open and transparent as the works are completed. It is vital we listen to harbour users during major works like this."
The pontoon replacement project has also been good news for Findochty Water Sports Club (FWSC), who represent a range of harbour users. Contractors are currently using the organisation's premises as a base of operations during this phase of the work.
Club commodore Mairi Innes commented: "Findochty boat owners have had to put up with sub-standard pontoons for many years and the majority of the local boats have remained ashore for well over a year, since the pontoons were finally closed to all on the grounds of health and safety.
"Since the closure, the old pontoons have remained an eyesore in our village harbour.
"We are all looking forward to seeing the plans for the new pontoons which are due to be in place this summer. Once the new pontoons are installed the harbour should be looking great for the boaters, the locals and the tourists and we will have a safe, secure place to moor our boats and to continue with our leisure activities.
"The process could have been handled better but it has been a tough year year for all so lets look to the future.
"Further information on what we do at FWSC can be found on our Facebook page. "
A spokesperson for Moray Council said: “The budget for the replacement of the pontoons is £560,000, planned for and funded through Moray Council’s capital plan and budget.
"Due to delays associated with the pandemic, regrettably the pontoons were not installed during 2020/21 as was hoped.
"However, we can reassure harbour users that, following the appointment of a contractor, the programme of works is now under way, beginning with the removal of the old pontoons. The new pontoons are set to be replaced by this summer, pending all licences being secured.”
Joining Strath Civil in the project is specialist pontoon supplier, Intermarine.
Once the removal phase is completed Moray Council's dredger MV Selkie will assist the contractor in removing the anchor and chains and, weather dependent, she will commence dredging the harbour prior to the start of replacing the pontoons.
Alongside the removal of the existing pontoons, the contractor is submitting to Marine Scotland, the application form for the licence to replace the pontoons and the licence approval is expected around week commencing May 17, the anticipated start date for the installation of the new pontoons.
During this process, as with all licence applications to Marine Scotland, there will be a consultation period. Installing the new pontoons is expected to take in the region of 10 weeks to complete.