Closed, okay?

Road closed is a sign that's been in place at the harbour for over a month now.

As most of have now returned to work post the festive break what's happening to remedy the harbour situation, nothing as far as we can see.

A wise monkey approach seems to have been adopted by all concerned, and say nothing.

A small column in this weeks Nairnshire states that the council have said that the reopening will take place shortly. Just how long is shortly?

If we rewind a couple of years the council put out a tender for the harbour to be dredged. The business reason for this was so that more pontoons could be added.

The harbour has been a useful source of income for the council, estimates are around £100k per year. In return outlays have been minimal, new pontoons once in a while and a part time harbour master. Further pontoons would have increased the harbour income.

Interestingly it seems we may have hit 'peak' interest in the harbour in the past couple of years as there were several vacant berths apparent last summer and this wasn't just due to boats being away. We suspect that the dramatic rise in the fees charged for berths has in effect chased some people away with the knowledge that charges will increase year by year at a much greater rate than inflation. 

Nairn harbour is not the most attractive if you're a harbour user due to it's very tidal nature that allows limited access in and out to the sea. Other harbours such as those at Inverness and Lossiemouth have enough water for boats to enter and leave at just about any state of the tide.

The contractor that was eventually appointed to dredge the harbour used a suction system to empty some of the silt out of the harbour. A more traditional approach would have been to dam the harbour at he mouth, drain it, and then use earth moving vehicles to take out all the silt. In retrospect the big advantage of this method is that it would have allowed inspection of the harbour walls that are normally underwater.

Would this method have averted the disaster that we now face? It's hard to tell. The harbour wall and road might still have collapsed with the removal of material but with the harbour empty of water it would have made repairs and inspection much easier.

A hasty attempt to remedy the situation saw the council employ a contractor to dump rocks against the compromised harbour wall, apparently replacing the steel piles would have cost little more and would have made a much better job. 

The rock infill means there's less room in the harbour for any new pontoons. You get what you pay for but we have a very cash strapped council and the cheapest route is likely to be the one that's taken from now on.

When will the harbour road be open again? A good question, place your bets, some say never!

Update: See the Gurn for details of River CC meeting: http://www.gurnnurn.com/2018/01/agenda-for-nrcc-meeting-730-pm-weds.html


Comments

  1. Nairns very own Cllr Liz MacDonald sits on Highland Councils Harbour Board. She'll have this sorted for the community in a flash, just you wait and see

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