If every word that has been written about the redevelopment of Port Askaig harbour would raise a pound, there would most likely be no problem filling the financial gap it has created. Much has been written, and complained, about the ever rising costs of this project launched by the Argyll and Bute Council. In a letter from February 2008 by Andrew Law from the Argyll and Bute Council, you can read the following about the projected costs: "In 1999 when the bid was prepared for Public Transport Funding the costs were estimated at Â£5,500,000. This was based on an outline idea and not detailed design." At the end of that same letter his (financial) conclusions are: "Current estimates are Phase 1 Â£5,200,000, Phase 2 is estimated to cost Â£6,500,000 and Phase 3 Â£1,000,000 giving a project cost of Â£12,700,000. The project is taking 9 years to complete." This was the situation at the end of February this year. Now, eight months later, there is more depressing financial news about the Port Askaig redevelopment project. A quote from an article in the Press and Journal:
Argyll and Bute Council could be facing extra costs running into millions of pounds over claims by contractors on big council projects. The councilâ€™s executive committee heard yesterday that contractors are claiming for extra costs on three major projects. At Port Askaig Pier on Islay, the council is bracing itself for estimated additional claims of Â£1.5million on the Â£12.5million project to redevelop the pier. The phased works include parking and mustering areas, marine works and the upgrading of pier buildings. Carillion completed the marine works very late and has warned the council of possible substantial claims to cover its costs. Director of operational services Stewart Turner told councillors they would be disputing these claims. Continue reading....
I can imagine that in an ideal situation when everything was working perfect at Port Askaig, people could accept a (slight) cost overrun. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case given an article in the Ileach from September where fishermen threaten to block Port Askaig: "Angry fishermen are threatening to blockade Port Askaig harbour in a bid to get the local council to address safety fears before the onset of winter storms. Argyll and Bute Council has created a new berthing area for fishing boats as part of a Â£12million upgrade of Port Askaig harbour. But fishermen and other commercial users claim the area is too shallow, the bottom is peppered with boulders and there are steel hazards sticking out of the concrete, making it a dangerous anchorage - instead of a safe haven - at low tide and in bad weather."
I am not aware if the situation has changed since the fishermen started their protest in September but, as with everything else related to this project, it will probably experience more long delays and will require again more money than foreseen. When will they ever learn, and where will it end?