Lochaline Pier to be closed October 22nd – December 1st 2019
CalMac and CMAL held a drop in meeting in Craignure on 11th June to share their plans for the alternative arrangements they are putting in place whilst the Lochaline pier is closed for six weeks this autumn.
The pier needs to be out of action for this time due to essential works which CMAL are undertaking which includes widening the slipway, dredging and also providing additional marshalling space. If you’ve been over to Lochaline recently you will know the works are already well underway.
The plan is to have passenger only sailings from the Lochaline timber pier over to Fishnish with a special timetable. All vehicles and lorries will only have the Oban – Craignure and Kilchoan – Tobermory routes available to them. Locally, Iain Erskine, our port manager, has been working hard at trying to come up with a timetable for the foot passengers, and also extra capacity on the Oban-Craignure route for the lorries and in particular the movement of ‘dangerous goods’ DGs (things like fuel, hay etc) however, the plans presented at the drop-in meeting by the CalMac central project team fell far short of what we need.
At the very least the sailings on the Oban-Craignure route needs to operate the same length of day as we have on the usual Lochaline- Fishnish winter timetable as we all rely on that route to get us off island early and back later than is possible via Oban.
There needs to be sufficient provision for haulage and DGs and there needs to be compensation considered for loss of earnings – we have already heard that the Mull abattoir is extremely concerned about potential cancellations from mainland farmers and crofters in one of their busiest times of year, in the run up to Christmas.
For those who will have to travel on foot from Lochaline Timber pier to Fishnish, questions were asked about whether hire cars would be available on both ends of the route as many workers travelling in either direction need their own transport to get to their place of work once they’ve made the crossing. There are also issues around emergency dental appointments, how the post will get back and forth, which busses will meet which ferries…the list is endless.
We know the local staff are doing their utmost to resolve these issues, but it also depends on CMAL and Transport Scotland being willing to pay for some of these solutions, so we have taken our concerns directly to Robbie Drummond MD CalMac and to Transport Scotland and we shall keep you informed. In the meantime, if you want to know more, have concerns or particular needs here is the link to the CMAL website where you can fill in a comments form: https://www.cmassets.co.uk/project/lochaline-upgrade-programme/
Or do contact us and/or Iain Erskine, our local CalMac port manager.
There is another drop-in meeting in Lochaline on June 26th if you would like to go and see the plans in person and get your views heard.