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The Oban Bay Management Group will explore the opportunity for a trust port to be established as the single harbour authority to manage the Oban Bay area.
The decision was made following the results of an online consultation survey and feedback at a public meeting held in July. More than 550 people completed the online survey and the responses are now available to view online at www.obanharbour.scot
The Oban Bay Management Group (OBMG) said: ‘One of the key opinions expressed through the survey is the need for a harbour management body that is representative of the full range of harbour users and considers the wider economic and community benefits of the harbour. Most respondents (63 per cent) stated the most suitable body to manage the wider Oban Bay area is a trust harbour.
‘The OBMG will now further explore this option while continuing to progress the early work necessary either for a trust port or extension of an existing harbour area.’
A public meeting will take place on Thursday September 6 at 7.30pm at the Corran Halls, Oban, to discuss the feedback from the survey and to update the community on OBMG activity on the harbour authority arrangements.
OBMG added it had ‘identified that a single harbour authority to manage the wider Oban Bay area is necessary to reduce risk from increased traffic, to improve marine safety and enhance the commercial viability of the harbour.
‘An initial proposal by OBMG, based on discussion and review, recommended the timeliest solution is for Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) to extend its current harbour authority area to cover the whole Oban Bay area, with Argyll and Bute Council harbour area remaining nested within the larger area.’
Lorna Spencer, who chairs OBMG, said: ‘Following the survey responses, we recognise that an opportunity for a group to come forward to set up a trust port is needed.
‘We have previously stated our support for a trust port and we agree that it is the most appropriate long-term arrangement. However, it needs to be initiated by interested individuals and groups. The OBMG is unable to directly pursue this option due to conflicts of interest within the membership. We are willing to assist a viable stakeholder group and we encourage those with an interest to come forward now.
‘In the interim, while a trust port option is explored, we will continue to do the preparatory work needed for any harbour authority. The option of CMAL extending its harbour area remains on the table should a trust organisation not emerge or proves unviable.
‘Thank you to those who took the time to complete the survey and those who attended the first public meeting in July. Their contribution has provided valuable input to planning the harbour authority arrangements.
‘We are committed to ensuring that, whatever the harbour authority arrangements, the town of Oban benefits and that there is a clear focus on navigational safety, the local environment and economy, and access to the islands.’