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Final cash injection lands for £3.5m Fort William marina expansion project

Corpach Marina upgrade to trigger job creation
Direct and indirect jobs to be created with marina expansion.

A final £500,000 tranche of funding is now expected to see the upgrade this August of Thomas Telford Corpach Marina in Fort William, creating a number of direct and indirect jobs.

The cash injection from Crown Estate Scotland is the last piece of the £3.5m funding jigsaw for the marina, which has also included backing from Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Mowi Scotland.

The improvements will provide new jobs, increased facilities for local people and tourists, as well as significantly upgrading marine facilities for locally-owned and visiting vessels.

Shore facilities complemented by 40-berth marina

In addition to a 40-berth marina and public slipway to launch boats, a community coffee shop and variety of related shore facilities will also be provided.

Caol Regeneration Company (CRC), a not-for-profit community organisation which is co-ordinating the third stage of the project, expects the entire marina to be commissioned in August.

This follows earlier development of a car park, public slipway and facilities building, which have been completed during the past two years.

Board meeting next week

“We have a board meeting next week which will have an update on the marina to confirm we are still on schedule for potentially opening in August,” Thomas Telford Corpach Marina chairman, Andy McKenna told the Press and Journal.

“Construction has begun – it is not something anyone can see just now because it is just casting and concrete.

“I am not expecting there to be anything significant until we can publicly say when we are opening the marina facilities building. That will happen before the marina though.”

Crown Estate Scotland chief executive Simon Hodge hailed “extremely welcome news”

Crown Estate Scotland chief executive, Simon Hodge, added: “The confirmation Corpach Marina’s long-planned development can now move ahead is extremely welcome news.”

He noted after agreeing the lease of the seabed to the marina, the £500,000 of capital investment was “for the long term.”

Breakwaters and pontoons to be assembled in nearby boatyard

For his part, Caol Regeneration Company chairman Donald Corbett added: “After more than a decade of continuous effort and determination by our team of community volunteers, I am delighted to announce we are able to proceed with the third and final phase of Corpach Marina.”

The final phase will see local company Gael Force Group, providing breakwaters and pontoons, which will be assembled at its nearby Corpach boatyard.

Mowi Scotland also a key backer of the marina
Mowi Scotland is also involved in the marina project

Job opportunities

Mr McKenna noted once the marina building opens, it will require “two or three people” to operate the site and coffee shop.

“The marina is within 500m of quite a lot of engineering companies and marina-based businesses, so there will definitely be economic benefit once the marina is full of boats, because they will always need something done, whether fibre glass work or servicing.

“There were many occasions when we thought this facility wouldn’t come to fruition; we were faced with huge funding challenges, a complete redesign of the facility buildings and of course, Covid.

“But we have come through all of that with really positive plans to contribute something big to the local community and to water sports in the area.”

Phase three funding

  • Crown Estate Scotland – £500,000 capital investment
  • Highland Council – £400,000 through the Scottish Government’s Regeneration
  • Capital Grant Fund and £100,000 from the Highland Coastal Communities Fund
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise – £150,000
  • Mowi Scotland – £150,000 in kind (repurposed mooring equipment) and cash

Ian Philp from Highland and Islands Enterprise’s Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross area team, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to help the company from the very start, including providing support for feasibility and the civil engineering and facilities building.

“It’s fantastic new jobs will be created in the marine tourism sector as a result of the enhanced facilities as well as improved access to the water provided for local people and visitors.”

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