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Corpach residents already fed up about disruption and noise from industrial and shipping operations at the local port are worried their concerns are being overshadowed by the push for a major expansion of the facility.
The residents have been complaining for years over what they see as a lack of official action to tackle what they say is an already noisy industrial works in Corpach.
At Monday night’s meeting of Kilmallie Community Council, Alastair Nicolson of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) gave an update on progress on the feasibility study for the creation of a deep water port facility at Corpach.
Mr Nicolson said work had been on-going over the past year between HIE, British Liberty Aluminium and Boyd Brothers Haulage to draw up a master plan for the expansion but stressed that no significant decisions had yet been made.
‘We are continuing to work with Boyd’s and Liberty to come up with an agreed layout for the site so that a business model can be developed,’ added Mr Nicolson.
‘If it was the wish to progress the project, then it would need to be subject to the planning process and that would need further development of the master plan.’
But it was the last straw for several disgruntled locals already frustrated by what they see as Highland Council’s hapless dealing with their complaints.
Community council secretary Russell Leaper said, like many locals, he had concerns.
‘There is a lot of concern about the current levels of noise and light pollution, which have been on-going and are yet to be addressed,’ he said.
‘So any further developments would be a concern for a lot of people. I’d like to see some assurances that this would not just make things worse.’
Local resident Roddy Mainland said there was a clear conflict between possible expansion of local industry and the employment it would create, and residents’ concerns.
‘There will be pressure for it to go ahead because it means employment but a major expansion could leave a small community vulnerable,’ he said.
Another local resident Norman Clark said there was a feeling in the community that it was going to get ‘railroaded’ over the project.
‘I think there is a great push to always be bigger rather than better. Personally I’d rather see things done better here before they get bigger,’ he said.
But Calum Boyd, of Boyd Brothers, was at the meeting and highlighted the number of jobs already created at the port.
‘And the port already helps take a large amount of lorry traffic off the A82, by bringing in stuff by sea and sending it out again by sea,’ he said.
The end of the discussion saw Mr Nicolson agree to keep the community council informed and up to date on progress.