HIE is continuing to support Stòras Uibhist as it works to create growth from the wide range of assets led by local people.
The Lochboisdale Port of Entry project has been an aspiration of the community for nearly thirty years and a contract for its construction has been awarded to MacInnes Bros following an open tender process.
HIE is backing Stòras Uibhist with £5 million of investment towards the overall £9.5 million project to create new marine leisure and fisheries facilities and to provide access to land for community and commercial development at Lochboisdale.
Douglas Cowan, Acting Area Manager at HIE, said: “Unlocking the potential of the region’s most fragile communities is a significant focus for HIE, and the combination of community and economic development is at the heart of what we do. This project aims to create jobs and stimulate economic growth in one of the Highlands and Islands most fragile areas.
“It will open up access to land for business development and community housing as well as create infrastructure for marine tourism market.”
MacInnes Bros has invested £1 million in new plant for the work and is recruiting staff locally.
The contract for construction of the Lochboisdale project includes two causeways and a road to Rhubha Bhuailt and Gasay Island, a new fishery pier and a 51 pontoon berths for fishermen and leisure sailors.
The project also secured funding from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, ERDF and BIG Lottery and it is planned to be completed in 2015.
John MacMillan, Chairman of Lochboisdale Development Ltd, said: “The start of this long-awaited project is a momentous occasion for this community and it demonstrates what can be achieved through community ownership. In 2006 some people said Stòras Uibhist was too ambitious with its plans for economic regeneration of these islands. The completion of the Loch Carnan project and the award of the Lochboisdale contract clearly demonstrate that this ambition was well-founded.”
Huw Francis, Chief Executive of Stòras Uibhist said: “The construction phase of this project will create much needed local employment at this time, and the facilities created will be a long-term boost to the island economy. The funding partners of this project have worked closely with Stòras Uibhist to ensure this important project can be delivered and their support has been instrumental in bringing us to this point.”