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New Longue Hougue jetty plan ‘dangerous and ill-thought-out’

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A PLAN to move commercial maritime operations to St Sampson’s and create a new jetty there has been criticised as ‘dangerous and not properly thought out’.

St Peter Port Harbour. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 24680865)

The president of the Guernsey Boatowners’ Association, Nick Guillemette, said the proposed jetty north of Longue Hougue was a bad idea. ‘They would have to dynamite 11 reefs. Just look at a marine chart.

‘Currents run past there at four knots at low and high tides, a jetty there would be exposed to all the elements, all the winds from north-east round to south-west.’

‘No ship’s master would want to do it in the daytime, let alone at night time – talk to the pilots who know the area, they’re dead against it.

‘They would have to dredge quite deeply to provide enough water so that, whatever the tide, ships coming in wouldn’t touch the bottom – that would be a huge amount of money.’

Mr Guillemette is in favour of an alternative idea to use inert waste to expand St Peter Port harbour. ‘A new jetty off the QEII marina would not just get rid of inert waste, it will also protect the existing infrastructure and create more space for small liners like Brittany Ferries, and we could expand the leisure market, which brings millions to the local economy.

‘St Peter Port harbour is more than 150 years old and the so-called New Jetty was built in 1927.

‘They’re crumbling. You can’t see it because it’s happening beneath the surface, but it’s crumbling away.

‘Ninety-eight percent of everything you and I eat, wear and buy comes through the harbour, so if our ro-ro ramps pack up, we’re in deep trouble.

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‘From a land point of view it might seem like a sensible idea to concentrate all the freight at Longue Hougue, but it would be totally impractical from a maritime point of view. It’s highly dangerous because of the sea conditions and lack of protection there.’

Deputies Peter Ferbrache and Charles Parkinson have put forward an amendment asking the States to spend at total of £1.45m. investigating maritime changes including the possibility of relocating freight operations to Longue Hougue, allowing activities in St Peter Port to focus on leisure, social and recreational uses.

It states: ‘Previous in-depth studies have identified the relocation of commercial port activities away from St Peter Port as a viable option.’

The amendment does not completely dismiss the idea of land reclamation at St Peter Port, but it is clear he is not keen on it.

‘What is perhaps more telling is that these reviews, despite recognising the impact of overcrowding, did not suggest land reclamation in St Peter Port was the solution.’

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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