£350,000 pontoon extension for Glenarm is put out to tender
A £350,000 pontoon extension proposed for Glenarm has been put out to tender by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
The contract is for the installation of approximately 120 metres of pedestrian pontoon within the harbour.
The new pontoons are to be connected to the existing pontoon network to allow access to the shore via the current bridge.
Utility points are to be fixed on the new pontoons to provide water and electricity supplies to the moored boats.
The project is expected to increase capacity to accommodate an addition 12 or 14 boats.
According to a report presented to the council’s Borough Growth Committee earlier this year, there were 124 Scottish boats berthed in Glenarm Marina last year and 86 in Carrickfergus.
This figure compared to 98 berthed in Glenarm in 2018 and 80 in Carrickfergus.
The local authority says that although the Village Renewal funding has not been secured, progression of this project “would still be of great benefit to the council as the increased capacity at the marina would enable more displaced boat owners to be accommodated during the harbour and marina dredging work planned for next year”.
A report presented to elected representatives at a meeting last week said: “It is now at a stage whereby a contractor could be appointed so that the works are completed this financial year and the additional £268,750 required to deliver the project this year can be re-profiled from projects that are now expected to come under budget or do not require the full budget they have been allocated this year.”
Speaking at a meeting of the council’s Direct Services Committee on Tuesday evening, director of Operations Philip Thompson told members that some funding may be available through Tourism NI.
The Marine and Fisheries Division of the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs says that the pontoon extension is under consideration.
Meanwhile, plans to increase parking at the Gobbins Visitor Centre in Islandmagee aided by the Village Renewal Fund have been put on hold.
The report says that given the “significant impact of Covid, current restrictions and ongoing review of The Gobbins business model, this project is now “not seen as a high priority for 2020/21 and can now temporarily be put on hold, freeing up the £75,000 budget”.
It is understood that the jobs of up to 10 workers at the tourist attraction in Islandmagee may be affected.
A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has stated: “Covid-19 has presented huge challenges for our tourism and hospitality industry across Northern Ireland.”
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter