Argyll and Bute Council agrees support for 'iconic' paddle steamer

Published Date: 

1 Nov 2013 - 12:33

ARGYLL and Bute Council has agreed to provide funding for the world’s last ocean-going paddle steamer – the Waverley – for the next three years.

The iconic vessel – a familiar sight around Argyll and Bute’s coastline and at the piers of its towns – is operated by Waverley Excursions Ltd, which is seeking three-year funding partnerships with key local authorities, including Argyll and Bute Council.

When they met on Thursday 31 October, councillors considered the request for grant funding to the Waverley totalling £45,000 over three years,  which operators say will help them to focus on securing a stable future for the much-loved paddle steamer without depending on grant funding.

With several members sharing their own memories of trips on the paddle steamer, and recognising its important contribution to Argyll and Bute’s tourist economy, the council agreed to make the funding award.

Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Tourism, Councillor Vivien Dance, said: “In the Waverley, we have a very precious piece of history, and it is important to make sure it has a sustainable future.   She  is an iconic ship and its image is very much associated with Argyll and Bute and plays an important role in the promotion of Argyll  and Bute as a tourist destination.  There is no finer sight than the Waverley pulling into one of our piers, with the sound of pipes to welcome her, and she undoubtedly makes a very important social, economic and cultural contribution to our area.

“It is also important to look at the long-term options for the Waverley in the context of our overall tourism marketing strategy for Argyll and Bute and we will continue our discussions with Waverley Excursions Ltd on the longer term funding issues in the context of our budget process. We are delighted to agree this funding alongside the support already provided in the form of waiving berthing fees when the Waverley pays a visit to our piers.”

The total funding of £45,000 will be paid to Waverley Excursions Ltd over three consecutive years - £20,000 in 2013/14, £15,000 in 2014/15 and £10,000 in 2015/16.