Guernsey public to help shape ports plan
Islanders’ views are being sought to help shape the future long-term vision for the island’s harbour areas and marine facilities.
Public Services is currently preparing a Ports Master Plan, setting out the development strategy for the existing harbours and any new facilities likely to be required within the next 25 years.
It is expected one of the key future requirements will be a deep water berth, for importing fuels. Previously studies have identified the need for this by 2020, to replace the outdated and inadequate facilities at St Sampson’s Harbour.
The Master Plan will also look in detail at how the areas in and around the harbours can be best used, which could include the development of new leisure, amenity or commercial facilities. It will also look at potential funding mechanisms for these.
Public Services Minister, Deputy Paul Luxon, said the project was particularly important given the significance of St Peter Port as the gateway to Guernsey. Any future development will have to take account of the historic context of the area, as well as its modern role as one of the island’s primary centres for commercial, cultural and leisure activities.
St Peter Port and St Sampson’s Harbours handle approximately 98% of all the island’s freight and around a third of all incoming and outgoing passengers. As well as facilities for commercial ships, they also have marinas for leisure crafts.
One area the Master Plan will address is overcrowding at St Peter Port, where freight facilities are full to capacity and there are concerns about traffic flow when vessels are discharging.
This could be improved by rearranging existing facilities, or potentially relocating some away from the port. There may also be scope for developing new facilities that make better use of the area, given its seafront location in the heart of St Peter Port.
The Department is staging widespread public consultation to help develop the Master Plan, beginning with a series of informal feedback sessions. Invites are being sent this week to port users, States Departments, business groups, and local associations and community organisations.
Once the initial phase is complete, the feedback received from stakeholders will be detailed for wider public consultation.
Public Services has already carried out detailed preliminary work, based on a study commissioned in 2010. This looked at future freight handling requirements and the projected volumes of goods coming into the island, as well as issues with the current arrangements and the potential use of the land available for harbour facilities.
The Department has now appointed port specialists Moffatt & Nichol to provide key expertise in finalising the Master Plan.
Deputy Luxon said the harbours had undergone development and maintenance throughout their history. Most recently, this included the building of North Beach in the 1980s, which also provided the QEII Marina, and the development of St Sampson’s Marina, completed in 2005.
However this previous development had not had any overarching strategic direction or plan.
‘The requirements of the harbours have always evolved, and it is now important to have a Master Plan to provide a long-term, co-ordinated vision for their future development,’ said Deputy Luxon.
‘One of the most important elements in developing this vision is consultation with those affected by any potential changes or developments. We have identified key stakeholders, which includes commercial and leisure users but also other interested groups.
‘There will also be opportunities for other groups and the wider general public to be involved, to ensure their opinions and needs of are taken into account and addressed.’
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