In April the Ileach published an article titled "Hallelujah" to celebrate the fact that the new Islay Ferry, MV Finlaggan, will also visit Port Ellen and not just Port Askaig as was foreseen earlier. For that to happen the pier at Port Ellen needs a reconstruction which was originally planned to start in the autumn of 2010. CMAL however issued a press release which stated that the works will be delayed until the spring of 2011: "Following further development of the plans for improvements to Port Ellen & Kennacraig harbours, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) will host public meetings w/c 9 August 2010 at both Port Ellen and Tarbert to provide an update on the projects which will deliver improved berthing facilities to accommodate the new vessel MV Finlaggan. Continue reading....
The works at Port Ellen, initially planned to commence in late Autumn 2010 will be delayed until spring 2011, with a nine month construction programme. This delay is a result of a more enhanced programme of work to the pier which has been identified during the design phase. Port Ellen Pier will remain open until spring 2011, and then closed to ferry traffic during the construction period and ferries diverted to Port Askaig.
In addition, works to improve the ferry berths at Kennacraig have been identified and as they are less complex than those at Port Ellen CMAL anticipate starting construction in January 2011 for three months. Kennacraig will remain open and the works will be undertaken around ferry services.
CMAL chief executive, Guy Platten explained: â€œOnce complete, both Kennacraig and Port Ellen will provide ferry facilities that will accommodate the MV Finlaggan. During the time when Port Ellen is closed for renovation, Port Askaig will be fully operational and will continue to offer a first-class service to passengers. We do not anticipate disruption to ferry users at Kennacraig.â€ Over Â£2 million of improvement work has already carried out by CMAL this year including the removal of a sunken barge at the entrance to Kennacraig harbour, as well as quay wall repairs and linkspan refurbishment at Port Ellen."