Fort William Marina & Shoreline Company: Throughout March we will be looking at a number of community based projects. Here we hear about a project that has created safe access to Loch Linnhe – it was developed by the Fort William Marina & Shoreline Company, a company founded by locals to deliver a more vibrant and accessible waterfront.
Please describe your project– what are you trying to achieve?
Our vision is to have an attractive and vibrant Fort William waterfront accessible to all.
Our mission is: To have a well managed pontoon facility to allow folk to safely access Loch Linnhe from the shore. This will lead to increased use of the waterfront and subsequently generate a significant increase in economic benefit for Fort William and the greater Lochaber area.
How did you get started?
We are Fort William Marina & Shoreline Company – a sister group to the ‘Fort William Town Team’ and ‘Friends of the Old Fort’. We were constituted by locals passionate about our area in 2012 in order to investigate, promote and implement improvements to the waterfront in Fort William and have now become a company limited by guarantee.
Who was involved in making the project happened and how was the community involved?
Our committee are made up of five local residents who volunteer their time and expertise to ensure that the Fort William Marina & Shoreline Company provides its service to the community. We have worked with the Fort William Town Team to arrange a great welcome to the cruise ship passengers and crew and this has been reflected in the feedback we have received.
How have you been able to raise funds?
It has been a challenge but we are doing things in bite size chunks. This way it is manageable and achievable. We can show results and thus have a track record for giving us the impetus to continue with our aims.
What were the biggest lessons that you have learned so far?
Not to take on too much, to deal with each issue you are hit with positively, be united in our aims and being strong and focussed to help us overcome the challenges.
What advice would you give people who wished to become active in their communities?
Have a chat with other locals to see if the idea you have is supported by others and then have a public meeting and engender more folk to join in. This will spread the workload and also give you the range of experts that you need to achieve your project. It is also more fun being together with like-minded folk!
What are your next steps?
We are looking for funding to carry out our extension to the pontoons and investigating the options for taking on the town pier which needs significant repairs and refurbishment in order for us to be able to welcome the likes of The Waverley and Balmoral which have not been able to come to Fort William due to the dilapidated state of the town pier.
Find out more about the project here:
Fiona Hyslop (Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs) carried out the Grand Opening of the Pontoons on 05/09/16
Main image: passengers of the Boudicca passengers use the pontoons on her maiden visit to Fort William on 28/09/16.