THE PROCESS of building a large new slipway and pontoon at Westport Harbour is officially underway, with a submission being made by Mayo County Council to construct a 37 metre long slipway and 42 metre long pontoon near Roman Island. The councillors of the West Mayo Municipal District last week consented to the plan going to what is known as Part 8, where it is publicly advertised and displayed and submissions from the public and prescribed bodies are sought on the proposal.
Given the regulations governing such a development, and the need to seek a foreshore licence among other statutory instruments, and indeed funding, the project, should it pass through the planning phases successfully, is approximately two years off being opened for use. After many years of calls for investment in marine infrastructure at Westport Quay however, this is looked on as a huge step in the right direction.
Ambitious plans to construct a full marina at Westport Quay exist, but are gathering dust on a shelf somewhere, with the enormous cost of such a development now deemed prohibitive, particularly after the economic downturn of the last decade. While such a marina remains the long term aim and vision for Westport Harbour, it is highly unlikely to be realised in the next number of years, so the proposal for the new pontoon and slipway are considered by many as a good starting point in terms of marine infrastructure and investment at the harbour.
A new Coast Guard base is due to be constructed adjacent to the old Boat Club, and the slipway in particular will be of significant importance to that organisation. The slipway will be five metres wide and will incorporate a 25 metre long parapet wall, while the gangway access to the pontoon will be 21 metres in length and supported by three piles.
Discussions and consultations with boat owners have taken place and the plans may be inspected at the West Mayo Municipal District offices on the Ballinrobe Road in Westport from today, August 2 until September 13, with submissions on the proposal being invited, when made in writing, until September 30.