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17 August 2010

Opening of Raasay Ferry Terminal

Islanders on Raasay, off Skye, were today (Tuesday) celebrating the opening of their £12 million new ferry terminal. Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Transport Infrastructure and Climate Change, was joined by pupils from Raasay Primary School in unveiling a plaque to mark the completion of the terminal at Churchton Bay, which provides a sheltered roll on roll off facility for the Caledonian MacBrayne car ferry, Loch Striven, and overnight berthage.

Built by Balfour Beatty, the new terminal has an all states of the tide slipway, a 150 metre long ferry berth, and 40 metre dog leg to provide the necessary shelter.

It is 2.5 kilometres from the former terminal at Suisnish, which was constructed at the beginning of the 20th century for the transportation of iron ore from Raasay. In the early 1970s Suisnish was enhanced to provide a slipway and berthing structure for the introduction of a new Island Class ferry direct to Sconser rather than Portree.

Suisnish pier has now reached the end of its life, and is in a very poor state of repair suffering from both corrosion of the precast concrete sections and accelerated low water corrosion of the sheet piles and does not provide the shelter that a modern day roll on/roll off ferry service requires.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

“I am delighted to visit Raasay and open the new ferry terminal. This substantial investment will deliver first class facilities for the people of Raasay as well as visiting tourists. It is a vital boost for the area and in these challenging times will make a valuable contribution to both the local and national economy.”

Councillor John Laing, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee, said:

“I am delighted that the lifeline link between Skye and Raasay has been secured with such a major investment, providing opportunities for Raasay to encourage visitors and improve the economy and sustainability of this remote island community. This contract marks another huge commitment by the Council to the rural West Highlands and closely follows the Small Isles ferry and piers’ project.”

Donald Oliphant, Chairman of Raasay Community Council, said:

“The Raasay community is delighted with our new pier, which is a real lifeline service for our fragile island community.”

Andrew Gordon, Regional Commercial Director, Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering, said:

“We are delighted to complete this complex project for The Highland Council. Technically and logistically this was a very challenging project and we are pleased with the outcome. The new pier and ferry terminal will provide great benefits to the local community.”

Phil Preston, Managing Director of ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne, said:

“The Sconser-Raasay service is one of our shortest crossings, but it is as important to us as any we operate, so we greatly welcome the investment in the new pier in Raasay, which will be a boon to all who use it.”
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