The redevelopment of a formerly disused area of Wick Harbour was heralded last month with the signing of a lease between Wick Harbour Authority and Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL).
The signing of the lease is the culmination of over two years of negotiations following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding where BOWL committed to utilise Wick as the long term operational base for the Beatrice offshore wind farm.
Work is now underway on the disused area of the Harbour which will result in the removal of the old slipway, re-profiling of the adjacent area of quayside and the installation of new pontoons which will provide berthing for the Beatrice Crew Transfer Vessels.
Image: A long reach excavator begins removal of the disused slipway.
Willie Watt of Wick Harbour Authority said “The Board and staff at Wick Harbour are thoroughly delighted that we have now signed the Lease between Wick Harbour Authority and the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm Ltd.
“This signing is the best news Wick Harbour has had in a “hundred” years and with the 25 lease period and further options available we hope to be supporting this massive renewable infrastructure project off our coast to 2074 and beyond. Our youth of today and the children coming through school will have the opportunity to join this exciting new industry based in Caithness and benefit from long term careers.
“In addition, the choice taken by BOWL to refurbish the buildings that served Wick Harbour throughout the fishing era is the icing on the cake and will deliver a splash of colour to the Harbour façade plus add to the exciting and positive atmosphere we enjoy around the port. We very much look forward to supporting the operations associated with the Beatrice project and thank the various teams involved for choosing Wick as their Base.”
Steve Wilson, BOWL Project Manager from SSE said: “The signature of the Wick harbour lease with the Wick Harbour Authority (WHA) is the result of the collaborative relationship which BOWL has developed the WHA team since the first assessment of the harbour as a possible location for the Operations and Maintenance base for the wind farm in 2012.
“They have proven to be not only a committed stakeholder in the project, but have proactively worked with BOWL to ensure that the continual changes to the concept and designs for the O&M Base could be accommodated within the harbour with minimal impact to the other harbour users and our future neighbours.”
Image: Wick Harbour with the Thomas Telford buildings in the background.
The Harbour work is in addition to the redevelopment of the two adjacent 200 year old Thomas Telford buildings which will be returned to maritime use as they become the operational base for BOWL team.
The buildings, which will be home for up to 90 operational staff, are being sympathetically restored as part of the £15m redevelopment by BOWL. Work is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.