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Marine / Redeveloped Toft pier in line to open in spring

Work to demolish and rebuild Toft pier got under way in 2019. Photo: Steven Spence

THE REVAMPED Toft pier could be ready to be reopened by the end of the April, a meeting heard.

Members of Shetland Islands Council’s harbour board heard on Thursday that progress on the project has been good despite the recent cold spell causing problems with concrete work.

The work is being led by Devon-based contractor Teignmouth Marine Services, with the project – which hopes to attract more boats to Toft – having a budget of nearly £3.5 million.

It has suffered delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and the weather.

A total of £1 million is being covered by grant money from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

Marine and airport infrastructure manager Andrew Inkster told the harbour board: “The good news is that we are now very, very close to completion.”

There are some fresh delays on electrical equipment arriving, however, such as lighting columns, and Inkster was unsure if this may be linked to coronavirus or Brexit.

Last year councillors approved spending an extra £500,000 on the project following the delays, which did not sit too kindly with some elected members.

Inkster was unable to confirm if more money would be needed when questioned by Shetland South member Allison Duncan.

“I’m not in a position to confirm those figures today,” he said.

Inkster added that the council is currently rounding up the total costs, with a report due to go to the harbour board in May.

Shetland Central member Davie Sandison asked if the council had requested more EMFF funding from the Scottish Government on the back of the increased cost.

“The approach was made, and unfortunately it came back negative,” Inkster said.

Board chair Andrea Manson also asked whether the Scottish Government could directly provide cash to cover additional expenses on the project if it is plugging shortfalls experienced by local authorities stemming from the pandemic.

Finance manager Jamie Manson said: “We have been collating all of the costs that the council has been experiencing as a result of managing the fallout of the pandemic, including the impact on some of our capital projects.

“I’m confident that we would be able to meet the additional costs from some of the funding that we have received.”