An estimated 600 people joined the Deputy First Minister Mr. John Swinney on a sunny Uist afternoon, to mark the completion of phase one of the £10 million project and the new facilities available to the area.
The event, sponsored by Lochboisdale Development Limited, Marine Harvest, MacInnes Brothers Ltd and Gillespie Macandrew also raised funds for RNLI, the Seaman’s Mission and Sgoil Lionacleit World Challenge trip to Tanzania in 2017.
The crowds were entertained by the Uist Pipe Band, Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band, Solladale and the Feis Tir a’ Mhurain band.
A range of local produce was available on site, with a selection given to Mr. Swinney to give him a “taste” of what Uist has to offer.
Fr Donald Mackay blessed the harbour with a warm prayer for all who depend and work on the sea.
The major regeneration project being taken forward by community organisation Stòras Uibhist has created new marine leisure facilities and provided access to land for community, residential and commercial development at Lochboisdale, South Uist. The project, which could not have happened without community ownership, secured funding from a number of sources, including Stòras Uibhist, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Scottish Government / ERDF and BIG Lottery.
Mr Swinney spoke of how impressed he was with “Just the scale of the achievement that had been made in creating this new facility.” He attributed it to the strength and determination of an “aspiring community”.
He assured us of “The willingness of the Government to look at good solid propositions to provide opportunities for further development.”
John MacMillan, Chairman of Lochboisdale Development Ltd, commented, “We are delighted that this major development has been completed and is now open for business. It will provide the necessary infrastructure to grow marine leisure tourism in Lochboisdale, as well as open up land for business development and community housing, This project is the first stage in delivering a long-term regeneration vision for Lochboisdale and the Uists and we look forward to working with our partners going forward.”
Huw Francis, Chief Executive of Stòras Uibhist said, “The development at Lochboisdale has been a long held ambition for the community. Construction of this ambitious project was managed by the Stòras Uibhist team and completion of these facilities demonstrates what can be achieved by a community which controls its own land and has access to the resources necessary to develop the island and its economy.”
Kirsty MacCormick, Development Manager of Storas Uibhist added “The opening day is the culmination of many years of hard work both in the planning and the construction. We are greatly impressed by the quality and impact of what has been constructed and we are really happy to see the community out in such numbers today celebrating the opening and wishing the project well for the future operation.”