Fetlar residents turned out in force on Saturday for the opening ceremony of the isle’s breakwater and pier, a development that had been awaited for decades.
The honour of pulling aside the blue curtains to reveal the plaque on the pier fell to former North Isles councillor and retired political leader Josie Simpson, who, along with elected member Robert Henderson and retired councillor Laura Baisley had lobbied hard for the breakwater and pier.
Mr Simpson, who had cut the turf in January 2011, said Fetlar had waited a long time for the facility.
It was “really great” to be opening the breakwater and new pier for small boats, which would bring “great benefit” to Fetlar.
He thanked the design team, led by SIC project manager John Williamson, main contractor FLJ and sub-contractor Malakoff.
The project was completed in September, taking less than two years to build and had cost less than the original £2.65 million estimate thanks to using local stone.
Fetlar had been Shetland’s only inhabited isle without a breakwater and the development opens up many possibilities. Robert Thomson, of Fetlar Developments Limited, said the 235-metre breakwater and new small pier meant “everything” to the isle.
Residents had been hoping for this development since before the Second World War and he said now that it was in place “Fetlar had a lot of catching up to do”.
The immediate benefit is that the inter island ferry can be berthed in the isle. Longer term it means fishing boats could be based locally and the shellfish and aquaculture industries could be developed.
Meanwhile, Fetlar’s fortunes are on the up. The isle has 79 residents – there were fewer than 50 in 2008 – the school has re-opened and houses are being built.