Councillors back new Toft pier

Councillors have backed an option to replace the Toft pier with a new structure estimated to cost between £1.5 and £2 million.

A lengthy and heated discussion took place in the chamber this afternoon, with Lerwick South councillor Amanda Westlake wanting to see how much the pier was worth by “floating” it on the private market.

Shetland North councillor Alastair Cooper moved the replacement of the pier and was seconded by West Side councillor Frank Robertson.

Councillor Cooper said the council needed to speak to the aquaculture and mussel industry to look at their needs.

Councillor Westlake said she was not against the motion but wanted to establish a figure for the pier.

The matter had been discussed in November and today four options were put in front of members of the SIC’s harbour board.

These were: to do nothing, demolish the pier, carry out repair work to the inner quay face and rock armour the outer face or replace the pier.

More work will need to be done by the council to progress the replacement.

Members were told the existing structure was very close to the end of its working life and beyond the point where repairs to the entire pier could be made economically.

The original concrete pier was built in 1951 and rebuilt in 1971 and has received little, if no maintenance.

A collapse in the deck has meant a barrier has been put up and vehicles cannot drive onto the pier.

During the meeting members were given a socio-economic report on the pier by Andrew Blackadder of AB Associates. It is part of a larger piece of work looking at a number of small piers in Shetland.

It showed there were five fishing vessels using the pier regularly; two scallop boats and three creel boats.

There were also 12 other vessels using the pier occasionally.

Mr Blackadder presented figures from landings at the pier from 2009 to 2014, taking information from Marine Scotland and the Marine Management Organisation.

Marine Management Organisation figures showed the total value of fish landings over that period was about £2.7 million and could have generated more than £68,000 in landing dues.

But landing dues for the council over the same period came to just under £1,500.

Members were told landings on small piers relied on an honesty system and Councillor Westlake raised concerns about missing out on so much money.

“Failing to be honest in the long term is going to fail them all,” she said.

“Honesty has not prevailed,” she added.

More in Friday’s Shetland Times.


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