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£3 million award for Scrabster harbour is hailed as 'tremendous news'

By Gordon Calder

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THE award of £3 million towards a major redevelopment project at Scrabster harbour was yesterday described as "tremendous news" for the port and for Caithness.

Sandy Mackie, the Scrabster Harbour Trust manager, was speaking after it was confirmed Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has provided part of the funding towards the £17 million redevelopment of the St Ola pier.

The £3 million will help redevelop the St Ola Pier.
The £3 million will help redevelop the St Ola Pier.

The project will support an additional 28 jobs, create further deep-water infrastructure and meet anticipated demand from cruise ships and offshore energy supply vessels. It will also place the port in an ideal position to service oil and gas activity in the West of Shetland basin.

A new quay wall and pier deck will be installed to expand the existing facility. The inner and outer side of the pier will be dredged to create water depth of no less than nine metres, while a reclamation area will provide storage for cargo handling.

Cruise ships of up to 250 metres and supply vessels up to 170 metres will be able to use the upgraded pier. Once complete it is expected to increase vessel tonnage and port revenues by 18 per cent.

Mr Mackie said: "The HIE award is tremendous news for the port and for the area, marking another important milestone in our efforts to deliver the St Ola project. The procurement process to select a contractor for the works is under way. The current project programme targets the construction works beginning early in 2020."

Eann Sinclair, HIE's area manager for Caithness and Sutherland, said: "We are very pleased to be able to support this extremely valuable project. Improving infrastructure in this way helps bring more new business to Caithness and Sutherland and to support local industries. It will also help attract and retain high-quality engineering and labour skills in the area."

The St Ola Pier redevelopment is considered a priority by the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, which was established in 2008 to address the economic impacts of Dounreay decommissioning.

Partnership chairman Ian Ross said: "We are delighted to support the St Ola Pier project. The significant direct investments from two partners – Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority– show the benefits of a partnership approach and have been critical in ensuring that it is able to proceed, bringing significant benefits to the region."

The St Ola scheme is the second phase of development by the trust. Phase one saw the £17.6million redevelopment of the old fish market pier to create a modern multipurpose quay facility. It was renamed the Jubilee Quay and opened in 2013.

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