Slipway ruled out for leisure use

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THE PROPOSAL to use the patent slipway at Arbroath harbour to launch leisure craft was debated at Friday’s meeting of the Arbroath Harbour Joint Consultative Committee (AHJCC). Every member was individually given the opportunity to put forward their view.

After full and frank discussion the group agreed that the patent slipway was not a suitable location for the launch and retrieval of trailer-borne small boats on the grounds that it would adversely affect the workings of the boatyard operated by Mackay Boatbuilders and would have health and safety implications.

Many other operational and practical reasons were pointed out by members which made the proposal too complex to administer and unlikely to succeed.

The group did, however, unanimously confirm their support for a small boat slip at the harbour and said that other options should be explored although recognising that current financial constraints would make this project unlikely for some time.

Group member Councillor Bob Spink said after the meeting: “I am pleased that at last proper consultation with the AHJCC has now taken place, for that is their purpose.

“Had this proper procedure been followed initially, much acrimony played out in public could have been averted. This proposal was always going to be a non-starter.”

He went on: “I will continue to advocate the case for the provision of a small boat slipway at Arbroath as I have done for many years and as a necessary part of the infrastructure required for a successful leisure harbour and complementing the marina.

“Of course, I know that this is aspirational for financial reasons at the moment but times will change for the better and aspiration will become reality. Negative thinking is not my forte.”

Councillor David Fairweather told the Herald: “I found the meeting rather disappointing. I will always go with someone else’s opinion but even the small boat group who had lobbied for a slipway think that the suggestion of the patent slip is in the wrong position.

“We consulted to see if we could build a new slipway but that is just not viable in the present climate. We have looked at using the public slipway, which is not leased by anyone, and a trial period of three months was suggested. If it worked, it worked, if it didn’t, it didn’t, but the consensus of the harbour board was that it was still in the wrong place.”

He concluded: “I have arranged a meeting with Jeff Green, director of roads, and will meet him at half tide on Thursday (yesterday) evening and we are going to look again at the situation but again it will come down to cost.

“If people want a slipway, I will try my best to get them one.”

“I believe that the slipway the council already owns would have been suitable, and I don’t think it would have affected the business run there. However, it is not going to happen so we will move forward.”

Councillor Donald Morrison commented: “I am pleased representatives of the harbour users have been given the opportunity to voice their opinion on the proposal to open the slipway at Mackay’s Boatyard for public use. This item should have been brought to this committee first as there is little point in having a consultative committee, which include those who use the harbour day in day out if they are not given the chance to be consulted.

“The decision by the harbour users was unanimously against the proposal and I trust the Alliance administration will take on board these views when making their final decision whether to go ahead with the plans or to shelve them.”

The Arbroath Harbour Joint Consultative Committee is a sub-committee of the Infrastructure Services committee of the council comprising elected members and representatives of all the harbour user groups, business and leisure.

They have no decision making powers and exist in an advisory capacity to the full committee. In this case their recommendations and views will be put to the full Angus Council on June 22 for a decision