Public meeting to discuss Staffin Community Harbour project

STAFFIN Community Trust is encouraging residents to attend an online public event this week to engage with proposals for the £3.2million redevelopment of the Staffin Slipway.

Upgrading the local harbour been a top priority of the community for some time as it lacks safe, sheltered berths and basic amenities such as water, power and storage facilities and is currently unsuitable for berthing.

SCT secured a £969,000 grant last year to build a new breakwater, upgrade the existing pier and install pontoons, create further parking, and public toilets. Access to the harbour area will always be open to the community, alongside commercial users and visitors.

A project team has been appointed and work is now progressing towards planning and marine license applications later this year.

The team, facilitated by Affric Limited, will hold a public meeting on Thursday, March 25, to provide detailed information on the plans as part of the important public engagement.

SCT director Donald MacDonald said: “Since the trust was formed in 1993 there have been three consultation exercises carried out, to ascertain what key projects the community wished to see delivered. On each occasion, the redevelopment of the Slipway was the top priority by far, and was way ahead of any of the other aspirations. This vital upgrade will make the harbour safer, provide jobs, create opportunities for local business development as well as being an important economic and social driver for the community.”

SCT’s board and a steering group of local residents, who are regular users of the slipway, have worked with the team to produce a site plan that will return the area to its primary purpose as a working community harbour and make it an attractive place for everyone who wants to enjoy it.

The new breakwater will create a sheltered haven that can be used by local and visiting boats, all year round. The new slipway, built over the existing one, will be longer and wider allowing boats to operate at any state of the tide, and make it much safer for vehicles to access. The gradient of the new slipway will be steeper than before to make it easier to launch and recover boats.

The pontoons will provide local boats with safe berths that can be used 12 months of the year, and opportunities for visiting leisure craft to tie up for the night.

The pontoons will also make it easier for boat trip operators giving visitors the opportunity to discover the coastline and abundant wildlife of the area. When the development is complete it will be managed by a part-time harbour manager.

Fiona Henderson, Affric managing director, said: “I would encourage people to come along to the event to find out more. We carry out consultation at this stage, before the project is fully designed so input can be taken on board to optimise the project to meet as many needs as possible while minimising environmental effects. Feedback in the form of a questionnaire will also be sought after the event.”

The meeting starts on Zoom at 7pm. Go to select ‘join a meeting’ and enter the meeting ID: 977 4730 2326; phone 01314 601196 and enter meeting ID: 977 4730 2326 to listen in, or e-mail@ to be sent a link to this meeting.