Oban Bay Management Group (OBMG) will explore the opportunity for a trust port to be established as the single harbour authority to manage the Oban Bay area.

The decision was made following the results of an online consultation survey and feedback at a public meeting held in July. More than 550 people completed the online survey and the responses are now available to view online at www.obanharbour.scot

One of the key opinions expressed through the survey is the need for a harbour management body that is representative of the full range of harbour users and considers the wider economic and community benefits of the harbour. Most respondents (63%) stated the most suitable body to manage the wider Oban bay area is a trust harbour. 

The OBMG will now further explore this option while continuing to progress the early work necessary either for a trust port or extension of an existing harbour area. 

A public meeting will take place on Thursday 6th September 2018 at 7.30pm at the Corran Halls, Oban to discuss the feedback from the survey and to update the community on OBMG activity on the harbour authority arrangements.

OBMG has identified that a single harbour authority to manage the wider Oban bay area is necessary to reduce risk from increased traffic, to improve marine safety, and enhance the commercial viability of the harbour. An initial proposal by OBMG, based on discussion and review, recommended the timeliest solution is for Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) to extend its current harbour authority area to cover the whole Oban bay area, with the Argyll & Bute Council harbour area remaining nested within the larger area.

Lorna Spencer, Chair of the OBMG said: 

“Following the survey responses, we recognise that an opportunity for a group to come forward to set-up a trust port is needed. We have previously stated our support for a trust port and we agree that it is the most appropriate long-term arrangement. However, it needs to be initiated by interested individuals and groups. The members of the OBMG are unable to pursue the trust port option as there would be conflicts of interest with their current operational responsibilities. We are willing to assist a viable stakeholder group and we encourage those with an interest to come forward now."

“In the interim, while a trust port option is explored, we will continue to do the preparatory work needed for any harbour authority. The option of CMAL extending its harbour area remains on the table should a trust organisation not emerge or proves unviable."

“Thank you to those who took the time to complete the survey and those who attended the first public meeting in July. Their contribution has provided valuable input to planning the harbour authority arrangements.

“We are committed to ensuring that, whatever the harbour authority arrangements, the town of Oban benefits and that there is a clear focus on navigational safety, the local environment and economy, and access to the islands.”

James Allan Chief Executive Officer of RYA Scotland said;

 “We are pleased that the Oban Bay Management Group are responding positively to the results of their own survey. A single harbour authority is the only realistic solution to managing safety in the Oban Bay area and we have maintained from the outset that a trust port is the only option that can fully engage stakeholders without a substantial conflict of interest arising."

"We believe the local community of the Oban Bay area can step up to this opportunity and we are ready to work with the community and the Oban Bay Management Group to secure a positive future for all interested parties."

"RYA Scotland will continue to represent the interests of the recreational boating community throughout this ongoing process.”

Survey responses are online at http://www.obanharbour.scot/information/oban-bay-management-group/stakeholder-submissions/

The OBMG was set-up in 2008 as a partnership involving Argyll and Bute Council, Northern Lighthouse Board, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), Calmac Ferries Ltd and the local stakeholder user group.