Bid to revive quarry

THE former Kirkmabreck Quarry Quay near Creetown could be brought back to life.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 14th January 2010, 1:36 pm

Stewartry councillors are being asked to make a contribution to the costs of survey work in the River Cree and berth at Kirkmabreck Quarry Quay and subsequent buoying of the navigable channel.

The 75,000 plan for preliminary work could lead to ships of up to 2,000 tonnes being used to ship timber in and out of the south west of Scotland.

One of the plans is to ship pulping wood from Dumfries and Galloway to the pulp mill at Workington as well as bringing timber in by boat for the region's timber industry.

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Tony Fitzpatrick, service director for economic regeneration, said: "Several firms have expressed an interest in using the quay facility including two large sawmill businesses and a large paperboard manufacturer.

"Sawmill companies see potential to transport saw logs to their businesses in Dumfries and Galloway by boat from Argyll and other locations on the west coast of Scotland rather than by road haulage as currently happens. A paperboard manufacturer based in England has expressed demand for more pulping wood from the region if this could be transported in a cost effective way by ship from Creetown to Workington."

The report, which is going before councillors next week, could pave the way for the re-opening of the quay as a working pier, bringing jobs and taking lorries off country roads.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the quay, owned by Tarmac and previously used for quarry materials, had been mothballed for more than 10 years.

Now the forest industries in south west Scotland and Tarmac have had discussions on use of the quay and are keen to see it running again for timber transport by ship.

The facility next to the A75 Gretna to Stranraer trunk road is close to large areas of commercial forestry and consists of a five-acre site.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the quay, unlike some of the other small ports in the region, is capable of taking large vessels.

A four-year contract is being drawn up between John Scott Transport and Tarmac to share access to the site with JST being leased half the site as pier operator once the facility is operational.

He said: "A working quay at Creetown could attract developer interest in build and deployment of wave energy harvesters as well as offshore windfarm developments.

"Initial operation of the pier would see six to 12 boats using the facility each year which could be approximately nine to 18,000 tonnes of timber moving through the facility."

Councillors are being asked to contribute 12,000 from the Stewartry's economic development service budgets to go along with 13,000 from Dumfries and Galloway Council with the rest by private sector investment.

The plan could safeguard jobs and create new posts as demand for timber haulage increases.

It would also remove 250 timber lorry loads from B roads and if the funding is in place tendering could start next month with all survey work and buoying works concluded by May.