Significant improvement to Dunoon’s pier could cost as much as £10m, a councillor has claimed.
Liberal Democrat councillor Ross Moreland, who represents the town’s council ward, added that the funding would have to be sourced externally as opposed to coming from the authority’s own funds.
But another Argyll and Bute councillor has urged authority chiefs to link up with community groups to source funding to carry the repairs out.
The possibility was raised during public question time at a meeting of the council’s Bute and Cowal area committee on Tuesday, September 5.
Alistair McLay asked the committee: “Do the area committee know which department in the council has responsibility for maintaining the pier?
“Do they also know how much money is set aside for maintenance of the structure and buildings, and how much money has been spent on maintaining the pier?
“And is any pressure being put on central government to perform repairs and maintenance?
“I am aware of a budget surplus; is there any scope to use that to maintain it and taking it out of the state it is in?”
Councillor Moreland responded: “One thing I can say safely, despite only having been a councillor for a year, is that we have no surplus. Any money to significantly improve the pier will have to come externally, from the Scottish or UK Governments.
“We do try to maintain the pier, but to significantly improve it, we are looking at somewhere in the region of £8m to £10m.
“When you are looking at £7m of budget cuts, that is money that has to come in from elsewhere. But every councillor will tell you we are always pushing.”
McLay then asked: “Would the committee support partnering with a community body to apply to funds like the Heritage Lottery or Heritage Scotland?
“There is quite an appetite in the community to do something about it, so I don’t know if that is something you are willing to do.”
Councillor Yvonne McNeilly (Conservative, Cowal) responded: “That is a fairly broad question, and as councillor Moreland outlined, it is a massive undertaking. I assure you we are doing everything we possibly can to move this on.
“It is a heritage type building, so it comes with its own set of issues, but we always look to discuss it with any groups who come forward.”
Her ward colleague councillor William Sinclair (Liberal Democrat) then said: “I know that the leader of the council has asked us all to look at a project within a raft of projects, and how we spend the money to develop a particular area.
“I believe Dunoon is the area that really needs a significant amount of money spent on it. I have been to other areas in Argyll and Bute – Oban is rammed full of tourists and is doing a particularly good job.
“I have not been enough to the islands, but they have the benefits of a working economy that a peninsula does not have.
“I see the amount of money we are spending on Rothesay Pavilion, which is going to be a magnificent building, but I believe Dunoon needs a significant amount of money spent.
“One of your biggest tourist points is coming over the water off the ferry and you are looking at the pier. Unfortunately 100 years ago it looked better than it does today.
“I am really supportive of partnering up with colleagues for stuff like that.”
Mark Calder, the council’s project manager for roads and infrastructure services, also confirmed to McLay that his department was responsible for maintaining the pier.