New pontoons in Oban finally to be built

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Nick
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New pontoons in Oban finally to be built

Postby Nick » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:21 am

From Argyll and Bute Council's website:

Oban set to become marine tourism hub - council awards contracts to build new step-ashore pontoons and associated visitor facility

21 Feb 2017 - 16:54
Argyll and Bute Council today (Tuesday 21st February) marked the letting of major construction contracts to build Oban’s new transit berthing and associated maritime visitor facilities.

The contract for the new berthing facility has gone to Gael Force, who will be employing Gareloch Support Services (GSS) and Oban-based North West Marine as their main subcontractors. The visitor facility will be built by Mull-based firm TSL Contractors Ltd.

Representatives of the local community joined councillors, the contractors and funding partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise, at Oban's Corran Halls to commemorate this significant milestone.

Councillor Ellen Morton, the council’s Policy Lead for Infrastructure, said:

“This is a huge day not only for Oban but for the whole west coast marine tourism scene. The public sector investment of over £3million in these two projects will make it easier for marine visitors to come to Oban.

“The pontoons are aimed at the cruise ship industry – we want to make it as easy as possible for people to come and experience all that Oban and the surrounding area has to offer. Currently around 15 ships a year visit, and passengers have to tender ashore and come up the slipway. This isn’t ideal, which is why we are creating better facilities to make it easier for people. Obviously the prediction is that this will bring even more cruise ships in the years to come.

“As well as easy access to the town there will also be a first class visitor facility which will cater not only for cruise passengers but other marine traffic such as kayakers, yachters, tour operators and sea-life enthusiasts.

“We would expect the increase in visitor numbers to be worth around £20million to the area over the next 25 years – a good return on the council’s investment. It’s not about figures though, it’s about people, and the jobs and industries this investment will support. This is really good news.”

Councillor Roddy McCuish, Chair of the Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area Committee, welcomed the news, saying:

“We are absolutely delighted. We’ve worked long and hard to move these projects forward, and are particularly grateful for the help of the local community group Oban Bay Marine, who have worked in partnership with us to develop the final plans. We would also like to extend our thanks to Highlands and Islands Enterprise for their continued support.

“It’s also great to see work staying in the local area. GSS did a great job on our berthing facility in Campbeltown, which is going from strength to strength, and they have assured us they will use Oban-based sub-contractors wherever possible.

“We can’t wait for work to get underway in the spring. It is expected that both projects will be complete by late summer.”

Mike Robertson from Oban Bay Marine said:

“All of us involved with OBM are delighted to see transit facilities for visiting leisure craft coming to Oban at last, thanks to the council’s regeneration project. With similar facilities now in place all round the country. We believe Oban can become the key transit point for boats and crews on the West Coast. That will bring valuable new trade to the whole town, and significant additional business to adjoining marinas from boats wishing to make Oban their base, or requiring work while on passage.”

John Offord, Managing Director of Gael Force Engineering, said:

“Gael Force are delighted to be involved in this very exciting and prestigious project. As a sailor who lived in the area for many years I firmly believe the new facilities will be a great asset to the town and will be welcomed by the yachting and wider marine community.”

John Forbes, General Manager for TSL Contractors, said:

“This is a significant contract for TSL Contractors and we are pleased to have won this prestigious project. The award allows us, as a local employer, to continue supporting the surrounding community where we employ over 100 staff and utilise local suppliers. The new facility will undoubtedly enhance the visitor experience in Oban and be a valuable asset to the area.”

HIE approved a £300,000 investment in the new facilities. Area manager, Jennifer Nicoll, said:

“These new facilities will contribute to Scotland’s marine tourism strategy, “Awakening the Giant”. They also help meet the need identified in the recent Sailing Tourism in Scotland report for more berthing facilities. The easy access for boaters to Oban town centre will enhance the area’s marine tourism offering and benefit the local economy, through increased visitor spend. I am very pleased we have been able to provide support and look forward to the project taking shape.”

Notes

The contract for the transit berthing facility has been let to Gael Force Engineering, who will use local subcontractors.

The berthing facility will see the creation of 36 finger-berth pontoons and a concrete floating breakwater, providing flexible short-stay capacity for vessels of various sizes.

The contract for the maritime visitor facility has been let to TSL from Mull.

The visitor facility will include a harbourmaster’s office, toilets, showers, lockers and a changing area, as well as commercial space for rent.
- Nick 8)

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Re: New pontoons in Oban finally to be built

Postby cpedw » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:37 am

That's encouraging news. Though I thought the restaurant buildings on the north pier already include toilets, showers and HM office - not that I have seen any of these in use.

What about Oban Marina (Kerrera)? Previously, they were reportedly threatening legal action if the transit marina got any support from the council. At the end of January, I heard a rumour from a usually-reliable source that the sale of the marina would be announced "next week" but since then there's been nothing.

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Re: New pontoons in Oban finally to be built

Postby stevepick » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:09 pm

If the contracts are out, then that means its going to happen. Still not sure I can believe this is going to happen after so much wasted cash and false dawns over the last 11 years I have been following the story. My understanding is they are going in on the north side of the north pier? Its not the best place to drop 1000 folk off a cruise ship, would have thought putting them south of the north pier would have been more sheltered and more likely to get the odd cruise ship passenger to actually walk up and down the esplanade. Will be interesting to see how it works out. It should make Oban marina more viable ( especially if it has a fuel berth), I could never understand the management's concerns about the transit marina.


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