First details of a £100million re-development of Wick Harbour in Caithness have been revealed.
Wick Harbour Authority believes its ambitious plan could open up offshore decommissioning opportunities and create new jobs.
It includes a new quay which would provide deep water facilities.
The scheme is part of a long term plan to prepare Caithness for life after Dounreay and take advantage of the offshore and renewable energy opportunities which it is determined Wick has a prime position to play a part in.
The designs have been produced after the authority spent £85,000 on the blueprint for the future of the harbour as a result of the amount of interest it is receiving from companies in the energy sector.
The operations maintenance base for the SSE Beatrice offshore wind farm is to be based at Wick, which will provide support for 85 turbines.
This will provide work at the harbour for the next 25 years with the option for a further 25.
Willie Watt, chairman of Wick Harbour Authority, said: “We are pursuing very much a stepping stone approach to coming out of where we are. Financially it has been a difficult 10 years because of loss of income streams.
“Now we look forward to a new industry in relation to installations and maintenance for off shore wind farms, that will give us an income to extend the harbour in additional stepping stones along the way.
“The board has been working tirelessly to establish income streams that will give us long term financial security, away from fishing. The white fish industry has declined to the point of non-existence at Wick.
“We see the next phase as to use the deeper water available to us out in the bay. That would require a new breakwater system and give us deep water berthing. It is a medium to long term aspiration.
“Although it is not a new idea, the design is new. There is great potential for the future. We are looking at all avenues of funding.”
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