The North Harbour Wall is 35% complete and the South Wall is 80% complete. Around 3500 of the 5000 large blocks have been cast. During the Winter the project became 3 months late. However February was a calm month and some time was made up.
First the seabed is flattened and a fibre layer is laid, then about 10 (depending on the depth) large blocks are laid on top of each other, locking bars are inserted and rock armour is placed outside from the barge or shore. This is a long process to complete before the walls are safe from storms and working hours have been lengthened in order to complete it before leaving it overnight. Divers watch how the blocks fit together underwater and video it. They direct the crane driver so they are placed exactly in order to lock together.
Some people have asked whether the developer will keep going with the project in view of the financial crisis in the country. The County Council contract included a condition that there would be a large bank guarantee that the harbour would be completed. This is in place so we expect the harbour to be completed.
I led the campaign to get the harbour sorted out, something the town has been trying to do since 1895. I have a good knowledge of the marine and other issues and want to continue to work with those involved to sort out the inevitable problems of implementation for the benefit of all.
The harbour, including 2 public slipways and buildings for the Sea Scouts, Rowers, Anglers, Sailors, Divers and Coastguard should be complete in August 2010, not so far away. Most of the hoardings will come down at that stage. It will take a further 2 years to complete the public square, homes, shops, boardwalk and public park. The Harbour is designed to:
- Be a recreation centre for an expanding population
- Put leisure use of the sea as a central feature of the town
- Produce a focal point and ‘Icon’ for the town
- Provide public access to the sea.