Hopes that new Fetlar pier will prompt investment
The Fetlar community will be holding a special ceremony on Saturday to mark the formal opening of the isle’s new breakwater and pier.
The development at Hamarsness will be opened by former Shetland Islands Councillor Josie Simpson at 1pm.
Mr Simpson cut the first turf – with a digger – as the project got underway in January 2011.
The new breakwater and pier provides shelter for shipping and for the existing ferry terminal. Its most immediate benefit is that it allows the inter-island ferry to be berthed in Fetlar, allowing the ferry to work in marginal conditions. Until now sailings have been vulnerable in winter weather.
It is hoped that by providing essential infrastructure, the new breakwater and pier will attract investment, promote business and sustain economic growth within the island. It is also hoped that it will encourage tourism, by providing a safe landing point for visiting yachts and cruise ship passengers.
Fetlar has rich fishing grounds nearby and the new development could generate a fishing presence in the isle.
The project was started in January last year with Frank L Johnston Ltd as main contractor and Malakoff as subcontractor. The cost was around £2.7 million, which came from SIC and European funding.
Seven months later SIC decided to extend the breakwater which was then under construction.
A longer breakwater was considered to provide more protection for small boats, so it was decided to extend the project by 40 metres.
Councillor for the North Isles Robert Henderson described the decision as a “win-win” situation.
Now that it is finished, SIC development committee chairman Alastair Cooper said: “I’m very pleased to see this long awaited project complete – it will prove a great asset for the community. Increased confidence in Fetlar is already evident.”
The lack of a breakwater and pier in Fetlar, the only populated isle in Shetland not to have a place where boats could be moored in all weathers, had caused frustration in the isle for decades. The final hurdle was overcome at the end of 2010 when a necessary piece of land was acquired.