Guernsey harbours could see multi-million pound investment in future
HARBOUR facilities could see multi-million pound development depending on the result of a current investigation.
Work will be overseen by a newly formed sub-committee of the States Trading Supervisory Board – the Commercial Ports Investigation Board to provide political and strategic direction to the project team.
The investigation will consider extension of St Peter Port harbour or whether existing activities should be relocated to free up space for new development and opportunity.
Guernsey Ports capital works manager John Mitchell and harbour master Captain David Barker will lead the research.
Captain Barker has experience in both the merchant navy and Royal Navy spanning more than 40 years while Mr Mitchell has worked at the harbour for more than 15 years and was involved with replacing cranes and refurbishment of harbour freight handling facilities.
Captain Barker said much had changed since St Peter Port and St Sampson's harbours were built in the 1800s.
'Whole industries have come and gone since then, and the very fact they continue to provide lifelines for the island is testament to the foresight of our predecessors and the infrastructure they created for future generations,' he said.
'So many years on and now there is competition for space in St Peter Port, while the way fuel is imported at St Sampson's needs to be addressed.
'We would hope that in doing so, any new facilities we create will equally stand the test of time, and will also be serving the island well 150 years from now.'
The research follows a requete debated in the States in May, which included proposals for a new berth at the end of the White Rock, to the east of the QEII marina, to handle larger vessels than the harbours can currently accommodate. This would free up space in St Peter Port harbour.
Mr Mitchell said the project will also look at other opportunities.
'There is a lot of potential to develop new business for the harbours, to bring additional revenues for the benefit of all islanders,' he said.
This included how to improve catering for large private boats and super yachts.
'This is a market for which Guernsey already has some attractions, but what we can offer is severely restricted by the existing facilities and layout of the ports.'
The first stage of investigation will be in-depth study of potential environmental impacts of harbour extension and will involve detailed technical assessments of any likely effects on land and offshore, and how these might be mitigated.
This includes traffic, marine life, coastal processes, noise and air quality.
Information on tidal flows and sea depths will also be revised.
Previous detailed studies of harbour requirements and potential development will be updated and most will be relevant for the current review.