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Monday 22 July 2024
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Letters / Report on Bonidale ferry terminal ‘unreliable’

We of the Whalsay Community Council understand from a report in the media that SIC finance is apparently being spent on investigating the creation of a new ferry terminal at Bonidale, this we assume (as we have never had sight of the proposal) is a version of a proposal that was dismissed as unsuitable over 50 years ago, when the Shetland Islands Council approved the alternative construction of two mainland ferry terminals for the Whalsay route. We have been informed that the Bonidale proposal has been investigated and dismissed on various occasions since then.

As we have never been allowed to view the proposal we are not aware of what change of circumstance has made this a proposal worthy of re-investigation and the additional financial expenditure this will involve.
The Bonidale proposal is reported to have an estimated capital bill of £45 million, the Whalsay Councillor Duncan Simpson was reported to have asked if any consideration had been given to widening the road into Vidlin if larger ferries were set to berth there, potentially bringing in more traffic.

Canning said it was not an issue that has been explored at this stage.
So the Bonidale proposal does not appear to include the cost of the construction of a dual lane carriageway from Bonidale to Laxo, this will be a significant additional cost.

The other option is to replace Whalsay’s two ferries with larger 45 metre vessels, redevelop the existing Laxo and Vidlin terminals and move the Whalsay terminal from Symbister to North Voe.

This option would come with an estimated capital bill of £52 to £56.8 million, this includes an estimated figure of £15 million for the North Voe terminal, this estimated figure is half a million less than the figure quoted in SIITS report presented nearly three years earlier, the proposal in SIITS did not appear to include the costs for the connecting roads to the breakwaters, or the construction of parking areas and terminal buildings.

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We conclude from this that the latest report, that appears to omit the substantial costs of shore infrastructure and connecting roads to the proposed breakwaters and ferry terminals; is therefore as incomplete and unreliable as the previous Peter Brett Associates presentation (the SIITS report) and therefore it is our opinion that this report cannot be relied on to be a credible source of information for use in the transport planning of our Islands lifeline transport links into the future.

Ellie Simpson

Clerk for Whalsay Community Council

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