A mini-marina is one of the exciting possibilities for Tweed Dock in the future, the chief executive of Berwick Harbour Commission has revealed.
Alan Irving, who has masterminded the recent revival in the dock’s fortunes, is also keen to explore the idea of cruise liner passengers coming ashore at Tweedmouth.
Commissioners also want to expand the range of cargo transported from the port and create a viewing platform to enable spectators to see a working dock.
However, there remains one large cloud on the horizon - the wooden jetty which serves as a navigational aid to vessels approaching the dock is deteriorating at ‘an alarming rate’ and major funding is needed for its reinstatement.
Mr Irving, speaking at a meeting of Berwick Rotary Club, said the commissioners see it as an opportunity to create a versatile facility which would attract visitors and secure the long term future of the port.
He believes the jetty could incorporate pontoons providing safe berthing for a number of yachts.
It would be a suitable area for a landing stage to bring visitors from cruise vessels and river cruises ashore.
Cruise ships, he felt, would be a positive boost to the town’s tourism and he told the club that he had received several enquiries from cruise ship managers.
A meeting is being held this week with two of them. One company has expressed interest in coach transport to allow passengers to visit nearby attractions such as Holy Island, Bamburgh and Alnwick.
Discussions are on-going about a viewing platform. The dock is always creating interest but commissioners are also aware of the potential dangers when ships are being loaded and unloaded. A platform would give viewers a safe place to watch from.
“It would be fair to say the commission face significant challenges but I firmly believe the restructured company is now in a strong position to meet them and continue to be an asset to the town,” said Mr Irving.
The mini-marina plan is on a far smaller scale than the commission was looking at in 2006.
It had hopes for a £5m marina with berths for 200 leisure craft but the plan was shelved due to the costs involved and concerns about the environmental impact on the river.