UK: Buckie and Burghead – Priority for Harbour Funding
Leisure harbours in Moray will not be dredged for at least two years when a new council-owned dredger will be in service, councillors were told yesterday.
Commercial harbours at Buckie and Burghead will continue to be serviced as a priority, and £65,000 has been allocated specifically for dredging operations alone in this current year.
The matter was discussed at a meeting of the council’s Audit and Performance Committee, where the condition of all the council’s harbours raised concerns.
The committee was told that the speed of deterioration at leisure harbours in Hopeman, Findochty, Portknockie and Cullen was increasing.
However, despite £150,000 allocated last year and a further £240,000 this year – both from the recently-introduced capital fund, only emergency repairs and works required under Health and Safety regulations are being carried out.
Chair of the council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Fiona Murdoch, said it was vital that the commercial harbours are kept viable.
“There is a £5million wish-list of improvements to all harbours, which in the current climate is simply not possible,” she said.
“The council is ensuring that the commercial harbours are maintained to help preserve jobs, particularly at Buckie where we are working with others to attract offshore maintenance business.
“We promised a new dredger and that’s what we are doing, and for the first time since 1996 there is a capital fund for harbour improvement works.
“But at a time when budgets are under such pressure we have to be smart about where we spend the limited resources. A new dredger and investment in Buckie will produce significant returns in terms of employment and inward investment to the area in the long run, which as a council we must focus upon.”
Maintenance and repairs to harbours frequently involve employment of professional diving services, the costs of which has increased significantly in the last few months.
Press Release, January 17, 2013; Image: caithness.org