The chairman of Tarbert Harbour Authority recently expressed optimism about the port’s future.
Addressing the authority’s Annual Public Meeting in Tarbert on Thursday 17 November, Alan MacDonald said the harbour’s finances were relatively healthy, and that, so far, the port has “weathered the recession”. He described next year as “a crunch year”, but said he remained hopeful of seeing the business grow in 2012.
Speaking at Tarbert’s Templar Arts Centre, Mr MacDonald presented his review of 2010/11.
Reporting 7% growth in turnover, he attributed this to a recovery in the value of fish landings, combined with increased income from permanent berthholders, and reductions in maintenance costs achieved through investment in new pontoons.
Board vice-chairman Kenny MacNab said the increased income from fishing boats had been achieved with a decreased fleet.
Mr MacDonald reported increasing demand for berthing space at Tarbert. He said that the Harbour Authority awaited the outcome of funding applications, which, if successful, would allow the board to augment and improve, over the winter, the existing pontoon provision.
Acknowledging past visits by the cruise ship Hebridean Princess, the chairman committed the Harbour Authority to encouraging further such traffic.
Recent strengthening works at the East Pier had, he said, allowed the paddle steamer Waverley to continue visiting and had led to increased traffic involving fish farm vessels, resulting in the repair works having been paid off already. He revealed that he is hopeful of seeing growth in East Pier trade.
A feasibility study involving the proposed main shoreside development had, he indicated, proved disappointing in terms of its economic outlook. Nevertheless, he signalled the board’s intention to seek the best outcome for the village and the harbour with the Crown Estate as a major investor, whilst cautioning that 2012’s economic climate would be a significant factor in any decision.
Acknowledging the success of the new harbourside walkway and the popularity of the open-air gym equipment, Mr MacDonald invited proposals for further activity in the adjacent outdoor amenity area. He highlighted also the public’s positive response to the opening, earlier this year, of the new yacht chandlery in Garvel Road.
Taking questions, he conceded that, if the board identifies a market for a boat lift and enhanced hardstanding for wintering boats ashore, and if funding and a sound economic case are forthcoming, it would be desirable for the Harbour Authority to provide such facilities.
(Images © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)