The first major section of breakwater for a new pontoon development has arrived in Oban.
Argyll and Bute Council is investing £3.1million in the berthing facility and maritime visitor centre at the North Pier to bring more business to the town centre.
Components for the project are being assembled nearby at Dunstaffnage Marina before being towed round in stages to the final site by the pier.
Councillors from the Oban Lorn and the Isles area committee visited to see how work is progressing.
Area chairwoman, Councillor Elaine Robertson, said: “I am delighted to see the transit berthing facility beginning to take shape. When it is completed later this year new visitors will be brought into the heart of Oban, which will be a welcome boost to our local economy and businesses.”
The scheme is being described by the council as a 36-berth “safe step ashore facility for cruise ship passengers, kayakers, day trip operators and leisure vessels”.
However the owners of Dunstaffnage Marina have raised concerns that the facility will actually be capable of catering for 100 vessels, including super yachts. There are fears this could take money away from an established local business.
The council has stated that its investment will complement existing marine facilities in the area and that there is strong widespread local support for the project.
It is expected that the pontoons will be able to welcome visiting boats this summer.
The new maritime visitor centre will stand in place of the demolished White Building.
A former ferry ticket office, the White Building was demolished last month.
The visitor centre will have shower facilities, a drying area, office space available for rent, a welcoming area for cruise ship passengers and a space in the middle for people to gather and meet.
The council’s depute provost Roddy McCuish said: “It will not only be a very attractive building, it is much needed for Oban. It is recognised that marine tourism is on the up throughout Scotland and Oban is well overdue being at the table.”
Investment for the pontoons and centre is being provided through the council’s Chord (Campbeltown Helensburgh Oban Rothesay and Dunoon) plan, a project to rejuvenate the waterfront towns.