Published on: 05 May 2022
Caol Regeneration Company (CRC), a not-for-profit community organisation, is pleased to announce the signing of a £1 million contract with Gael Force Group Ltd to construct the third and final phase of its £3.5m Thomas Telford Corpach Marina project. It is expected that the entire marina will be commissioned in August, with the “An Cala” community coffee shop and related shore facilities – including a public slipway – opening earlier in the summer.
The Gael Force contract will deliver a 40-berth marina with space also for smaller boats, comprising floating breakwaters, pontoons and an all-ability access walkway. Construction works will be carried out at Gael Force Group’s nearby Corpach boatyard, with assembled components being floated across to the marina site.
This phase follows on from the earlier development of a car park, public slipway and facilities building, which were completed during the last two years.
A recently-agreed funding package has enabled these final works to go ahead. The funders are:
- Highland Council (£400,000 through the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, and £100,000 from the Highland Coastal Communities Fund)
- Crown Estate Scotland (£500,000 capital investment)
- Highlands and Islands Enterprise (£150,000)
- Mowi Scotland (£150,000 in kind – repurposed mooring equipment – and cash)
Benefits expected from the marina include:
- new direct job opportunities, as well as indirect jobs in tourism and marine businesses
- much improved access to the water environment for healthy lifestyles
- strengthening of the area’s brand as “The Outdoor Capital of the UK”
- encouraging green and low/zero carbon tourism
Donald Corbett, Chair of CRC said: “After more than a decade of continuous effort and determination by our team of community volunteers, I am delighted to announce that we are able to proceed with the third and final phase of Corpach Marina. The brainchild of the late Dr. Su Sen, this development emerged from an earlier plan by Lochaber Small Boat Owners Association. Over the years we have enjoyed the support of many individuals and organisations, for which I’m very grateful. Now that we have the green light for the final phase, we are confident it will be a fantastic asset benefitting the people of the area in so many ways.”
Andy McKenna, Chair of Thomas Telford Corpach Marina Ltd (TTCM) said: “There were many occasions when we thought this wonderful facility wouldn’t come to fruition – we were faced with huge funding challenges, a complete redesign of the facility buildings, and of course Covid. But we have come through all of that with really positive plans to contribute something big to the local community and to watersports in the area. The focus of the TTCM board is now on making this a success, a brilliant amenity that everyone can be proud of and that provides a truly excellent service to our customers.”
Ben Hadfield, COO of Mowi Scotland said: “Mowi is very pleased to participate in this important community project and thrilled to see it come to completion after the hard work and perseverance of so many contributors. Mowi has been on board with the project for several years because this is exactly the kind of infrastructure development that brings much benefit to the Fort William area.”
Simon Hodge, Chief Executive of Crown Estate Scotland said: “The confirmation that Corpach Marina’s long-planned development can now move ahead is tremendous news. Having agreed the lease of the seabed to the Marina, we’re pleased to be strengthening our partnership further, as part of our programme of ongoing investment in marine tourism infrastructure. Our commitment of £500,000 of capital investment is for the long-term, and we look forward to playing our part in helping encourage economic development here, and with other coastal communities around Scotland.”
Stephen Offord, Gael Force Group Production Director said: “We are thrilled that the team at Caol Regeneration Company has placed its confidence in us as an experienced local pontoon manufacturer in the Highlands, to support it in realising its long-held ambition for an excellent local marina facility. Our robust range of SeaHaven pontoons and breakwaters will provide a safe haven for visiting and local leisure craft alike. We now look forward to the development getting underway – our involvement in this project is a huge source of pride for Gael Force Group.”
For Highland Council, Interim Lochaber Area Committee Chair, Cllr Allan Henderson said: “The Thomas Telford Corpach Marina project offers a much needed asset to both locals and visitors. The project which from inception has been driven by community volunteers is a testament to all involved. It was an ambitious undertaking and at times an arduous journey, however the rewards are to be commended and the legacy of the marina can be enjoyed for many years to come.”
Ian Philp from HIE’s Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross area team said: “We are very pleased to have been able to help the company from the very start, including providing support for feasibility and the civil engineering and facilities building. It’s fantastic that new jobs will be created in the marine tourism sector as a result of the enhanced facilities as well as improved access to the water provided for local people and visitors. We are delighted that the company is able to take its growth ambitions another step forward with the signing of the final phase and we look forward to working with them as they bring this fantastic asset to the area.”