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Call to Locals for Harbour Involvement

STRANRAER harbour users must be involved in the regeneration of the facility, says the Depute Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning.

On a visit to Stranraer on Tuesday, Lewis Macdonald MSP met with members of the Stranraer Harbour Improvement Project (SHIP). And he said the local fishermen and sailors possessed the key to a successful transformation of the waterfront area. He said:

"This is a great harbour crying out for development. It's important that the local community's interests are heard loud and clear and the fact that the SHIP group exist really gives them clout because it's not in every port that you have the fishermen and the leisure craft users working side by side."

Mr Macdonald said the opportunity should be grasped to encourage tourists into the town with a first class harbour development. SHIP must keep the pressure on the council to make sure their expertise does not go to waste, particularly now that a dredging licence has finally been applied for. That should arrive in the next fortnight, it was revealed.

"Two things are immediately striking," said the Depute Minister.

"First is the superb location, water that's sheltered most of the time and combined with a natural harbour.

"The trick here is to capture the potential of the location by improving the harbour facilities - doing that will free up the harbour and let the wider project go ahead which will attract tourists to the town.

"The exciting thing I have heard is that in the days of ferry traffic the town centre and harbour turned their backs on one another. The opportunity is there now to bring the two together - and that's the key to making Stranraer a destination where people stop off rather than just a place people pass through on their way somewhere else."

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