Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / Continuous consultation without conclusion

As we enter 2020, the third decade of this century, the consultations on the Whalsay transport link continue.

The Whalsay ferries are just two years away from being 20 and 40 years old and the ferry terminals are nearing fifty years in existence.

Despite councillors voting to pursue the construction of a tunnel in 2010, SIC officials still appear to be trying to convince us in their reports that running the ferry service for the next 60 years, which for Whalsay cost £3,400,000 in 2015/16, is cheaper than running a tunnel at £0.3 to £0.4 million per annum.

They also appear to be trying to convince us that the construction cost of a tunnel could be as high as £260 million, when they had a quote for a completed Whalsay tunnel for £76 million in 2017, including an offer of funding for its construction.

Will the SIC officials present a credible conclusion to the consultations during this decade or will the SIC continue to employ a workforce working on continuous consultations, as appears to have been the case for the past two decades?

We will probably have to wait and see, however the burning question is, how long can the present Whalsay ferries continue to run, without major investment in replacement of the ferries and infrastructure?

William Polson

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021