Meaningful improvements to Sark’s harbours are ‘financially viable, technically and environmentally appropriate, and achievable within a useful timeframe’, according to a new report.
Sark Property Company engaged Simon Arrol CEng FICE (pictured)– a marina and waterfront design, development and management expert with more than 40 years of international experience – to visit Sark, review the harbour facilities and produce the report.
For Maseline Harbour, the report considered the possibility of a breakwater to provide better shelter for the ferries during northerly gales, modernising the cargo handling, building a passenger waiting room, fitting the pier with a rail-mounted crane, and improving safety on the embarkation staircase.
All this with the aim of enhancing the harbour for Sark residents and visitors. The report also studied Creux Harbour and has suggested improved gear storage facilities for the fishermen, a cafe-restaurant in season, toilets/showers for visiting yachtsmen, and heritage-style chain railings along the quay edge. If the seabed can be deepened and a fixed sill installed across the entrance, then Creux Harbour could have floating berths at all states of the tide for both local boat owners and visiting yachts.
It is hoped that presenting such a series of recommendations together will encourage the island’s residents to form a consensus on a way forward for revitalising the harbours area.
Mr Arrol’s visit and the production of the report were paid for in full by Sark Property Company, whose director Seigneur Christopher Beaumont said: “As an island we’re dependent on our harbour facilities, and at the workshop in the spring the community expressed quite clearly that this is an area a majority would like to see improved.
“As with all of the Sark Property Company’s work so far, we’re providing this report – and Simon’s considerable expertise and insight – to the community. The harbour is island owned, so we invited Chief Pleas to meet Simon when he was here, we have also sent them the full report. Having shared the findings, it is up to Chief Pleas and other stakeholders to find a way forward. But this report certainly does a lot of the legwork, and we would remain as active as we’re asked to be in any future development.
“The report makes clear that meaningful improvements are possible, and if all the recommendations are adopted we could see a much more functional and welcoming harbour space in a relatively short timeframe, which would be a huge step in the right direction for Sark.”
An extension to the Maseline Harbour jetty has long been mooted but the report concludes that this would be unaffordable for the community, as would a yacht marina, which it describes as ‘not financially viable’.
Many of the suggested improvements to the area depend on the current incinerator and waste-handling facilities being relocated away from the harbour, an idea that received widespread support during the recent community workshop on the future of Sark run by The Prince’s Foundation.
The full report is available to download from Sark Property Company’s website.