Port Ellen Harbour Association are delighted to announce that they have received a grant of £345,173 from the Coastal Communities Fund to install a new pontoon arrangement in Port Ellen Bay increasing capacity of the existing facility by 40%. Twenty new berths will be purchased which will allow up to 15 metre boats to use the facilities. Market research conducted over the last 10 years indicates that boats are getting larger and the new pontoon will allow PEHA to cater for these larger vessels and open up the area to a new market of boat users. Research based on statistics from Tourism Intelligence Scotland and local account figures indicate that the existing visitor pontoon contributes as much as Ł166,000 to the local economy every year and this figure is sure to grow considerably with the addition of the new berths.
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, thus helping 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.
The funding will also allow for dredging associated with the expansion and 2 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.
PEHA have been supported throughout the application process by Kirsten Laurie, Local Development Officer for South Islay Development and her assistance had 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 the Kildalton and Oa and the island as a whole.