Is Stonehaven Harbour Being Cast Adrift by Council?

By Jane Cruickshank / May 12, 2021
shot of harbour and bay

STONEHAVEN Harbour could come under the management of its users as Aberdeenshire Council considers jettisoning its role as statutory harbour authority.

Our local authority has charge over seven harbours in the North-east: Portsoy, Banff Harbour Marina, Macduff, Rosehearty, Gourdon, Johnshaven and Stonehaven.

Harbour Authorities are responsible for managing safe and efficient harbours, including the safety of vessels and people within the harbour, efficient navigation and protection of the port environment.

While our harbours provide these services to our maritime community, they are a drain on our cash-strapped Council’s resources. For 2020/21, the forecast cost of the harbours is £1,194,000. While this is offset with an income of £521,000, there is a resulting net loss of £673,000 expected.

At tomorrow’s Infrastructure Services Committee meeting, councillors are asked to consider four alternatives:

  • close the harbours
  • sell the harbours
  • partnership with communities
  • empower users and stakeholders

It is the last alternative that has been recommended.

The Infrastructure Services Committee meets tomorrow 13 May at 10:15AM. The full agenda, papers and a link to the meeting are available online.

Colin Campbell - May 13, 2021

@Richard Gibson – correct. Harbours can be one of the most dynamic areas of any community, fishing and trade or not, but must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. The current policy almost amounts to “Benign neglect” anyway, and real impetus to digitalise support services like invoicing and others for the facilities is essential.

However – Local authority services all over the UK are cut to the bone and beyond to support vanity infrastructure projects for metropolitan areas where central government funnels taxpayer money to their chums, usually through unfit tendering processes and plain old corruption. This leaves the councils in an utterly impossible position – they simply would not have the resources to implement this sort of programme, never mind construct a viable vision around it.

As long as the councils are hamstrung around spending commitments, this will continue and it will have to be up to the communities to do it. Thats maybe not a bad thing in terms of local accountability.

Richard Gibson - May 12, 2021

There is another option….run the harbours efficiently. Do you think they have looked at ways of doing this? Their invoicing system for example, is totally outdated and must cost £000s that could be simply saved. There will be a host of savings that can be made. Frustrating.

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