St Andrews harbour pontoons sail £65k closer to completion

A communal St Andrews voice agreed to another tranche of funding for the St Andrews Harbour pontoon project totalling £65,000.

Friday, 6th May 2016, 9:17 am
Updated Friday, 6th May 2016, 10:22 am
Dr Cameron Rae (chairman) and Brian Paterson (fundraiser) on the first stage of the installation. Pic by Steven Brown.

A combination of £25,000 from the Common Good Fund and £20,000 from the Local Community Planning Budget was approved at the north east Fife area committee meeting with a further £20,000 pledged by the Pilgrim Foundation.

Trustee Brian Paterson is delighted to have secured nearly half the money needed for the second stage of the project. He said: “We are now halfway through the next stage of completion and with applications to some European streams of funding I am hoping that we can complete stage two by the end of the year.

“There is water and power facilities for visiting yachtsmen and improved facilities for local users, including disabled access.”

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Brian Thomson, concillor said after the meeting: “The installation last summer of phase 1 of the pontoons project at the harbour has been hugely successful, with greatly improved facilities and access, and – for the first time in years – a waiting list for berths. I was pleased to support the Harbour Trust’s applications for funding for phase 2 of the project, which will further enhance the facilities available at the historic harbour.

Berth waiting lists are not the only improvement that will have an impact on the local community. One of the key developments to the current harbour improvements has been disabled facilities which have allowed the St Andrews Coastal Rowing Club – an inclusive community orientated rowing club – to create opportunities for everyone to enjoy the sport.

“The thrust of the new coastal rowing phenomenon is to involve as many people as possible, make it as accessible as possible both physically and affordably,” said Julie Hardisty, chief secretary of the club. “Access is key – and that’s where the pontoons are invaluable – you can’t push a wheelchair down a beach.

“Disabled people can access the water in a way that they couldn’t before. If you are limited to where you can launch or you have difficulty getting to a slipway, it can really restrict people. Having the pontoons makes a massive difference and we hope to build on that access.” David Ross, who has been blind since birth, will be jumping aboard soon to guide the club on how best to provide a comfortable experience for blind or partially sighted rowers. A veteran and keen rower has also been advising the team on the restrictions linked to false limbs. “We are learning all the time and the Harbour Trust has been very supportive. We wouldn’t be able to do a lot of this without them,” finished Julie.