ARBROATH East and Lunan councillor Bob Spink is delighted that at last work has started on the small boat slipway at Arbroath harbour, even more so as the work is to be done by a well known local company D. Geddes & Co. of Swirlburn.
Geddes began to move heavy plant on site on Monday and work got under way on the £119,770.50 project on Tuesday afternoon. It is expected to take about eight weeks.
Mr Spink stated: “As a former owner myself of a small trailer boat, I was always aware of the need of a slipway for small boats in Arbroath, and indeed in Angus. I was obliged to use either Broughty Ferry or Johnshaven to launch.
“The first attempt was to explore the possibility of a slipway alongside the lifeboat slip which resulted in an over-ambitious ‘all singing - all dancing’ proposal from the council which was way beyond that which was necessary or financially feasible.
“Attention then turned to the possible use of the existing patent slip suggested by the council but again this brought up all sorts of problems, particularly by interfering with the workings of the boatyard. This idea was also abandoned.”
He went on: “My suggestion and with agreement of all, was a small boat slipway on the site now being developed. A simple access to the water with no frills; an ‘at your own risk’ unsupervised slip free of charge with ample parking and clearly separated from the working harbour. It has been a long haul but hopefully worth it. The slip will enhance the facilities available at Arbroath harbour and attract a new untapped market of small trailer boats adding to the harbour and the town economy.
“We have seen the emergence of a successful marina with berths for both locals and visitors, with a substantial waiting list for berths as a measure of that success. We have a crewroom with shower facilities and some social space almost complete, and a new quayside fuelling system already proving a successful and popular facility.
“The small boat slip adds to all this and in tandem and very importantly we have a healthy commercial fleet of fishing boats, smaller in size perhaps, but which have successfully adapted to the changing fortunes of the fishing industry, smaller in size perhaps from those of yesteryear but not perhaps in numbers.”
Councillor Spink concluded: “The busy boatyard of MacKays also beavers away as ever and the patent slipway is rarely free of boats of many kinds slipped for treatment or repair of one kind or another and adding to the growing atmosphere of prosperity that now surrounds Arbroath harbour as well as showcasing its traditional industries.
“We are making a difference and the harbour is achieving a transition which adapts it to meet the future. The new small boat slipway is but another step along the way and I welcome it as a positive part of the harbour’s development.”