Users of Oban Bay are working to snatch control of the busy harbour from the grasp of a government body.
Outrage was expressed by tourism, business and leisure groups when CMAL, (Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd), launched its plans to run the entire harbour bay.
It is agreed that a single harbour authority would improve safety in the busy port.
But the other users say that their interests could suffer if CMAL, the main user, were to become the sole manager.
After major public pressure, CMAL has agreed to delay applying for a Harbour Revision Order until late next year.
Stakeholders are now taking steps to set up a trust port, which would be run by the community. Funding is being sought to employ a project officer to take the proposal for a harbour trust forward.
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Andrew Spence, chief executive of Bid4Oban business improvement district company, is a member of the stakeholder group. He said that three working groups have been convened to address the issues of finance, legislation and navigational safety.
Revised plans and guidance for navigation within the bay have been drafted.
Mr Spence said: “Stakeholder representatives have also undertaken a review of the historic and current legislation which relates to Oban Bay, and this has been submitted to parliamentary agents for consideration.
“Additionally, the finance working group has started to undertake a detailed evaluation of the viability of a trust port. Representatives recently met with local councillors who recognise the benefits that the project could bring to Oban, and work is now underway to engage directly with council officers.”
A spokeswoman for CMAL said: “CMAL, working with Oban Bay Management Group, has reviewed timelines with stakeholder representatives, who are investigating the viability of a trust port, and have agreed to report their findings in March 2019.
“If it is deemed that a trust port is not a feasible option, CMAL will apply for a Harbour Revision Order towards the end of 2019.”
Currently there are two Statutory Harbour Authorities, in Oban bay. Argyll and Bute Council, which owns the North Pier, and CMAL which owns the ferry terminal.
Oban Bay Management Group (OBMG), made up of CMAL, CalMac, the council, Northern Lighthouse Board and Oban Bay Stakeholders’ Group, had agreed that CMAL should take over.