Following the decision last summer to invest over £2million to save Dunoon’s historic wooden pier work has been progressing well.
Last week the council issued the contract notice for the Phase 1A works which are aimed at repairing the pedestrian walkway, the pier head and the decking, with the contract for Phase 1B, work on the waiting room and the harbour master’s office, going out today (Monday 2nd February).
The contract notices are now on the Public Contracts Scotland web portal and invite suitably qualified and experienced contractors to tender. The tenders will be evaluated by the project team, with the contract awards for both Phases 1A and B expected to be made by the end of March.
The Phase 1A work is forecast to begin in the summer and could involve the use of, on a limited number of the pier’s piles, an innovative encapsulation system that not only protects timber piles from aggressive saltwater environments and marine animals but also strengthens deteriorated piles with a durable, light-weight and non-corrosive reinforcement.
Between the contract award and work beginning the successful contractor will be undertaking detailed joint surveys and ordering the necessary materials. The work will include: repair of the structural members that form the pedestrian walkway and area below the waiting room; traditional timber repairs to include pile, bracing, longitudinal tie repairs and reinstatement; repairs to decking and refurbishment of existing balustrade; crack repairs to stone foundations of present harbour masters building and a review of services and utilities required for the pier including new lighting installation and foul water drainage from the waiting room. The majority of this work will be out of sight, being carried out through a mix of diver works and works from a boat or platform.
Phase 1B is set to begin in the spring with initial surveys of the buildings, looking at issues such as asbestos, timber decay and roof condition. The actual construction works will involve essential repairs to the harbour master’s building and waiting room which will enable an internal refit as part of the longer term project.
This initial phase will see these elements of the pier being re-opened for public use, with the waiting room transformed into a flexible multipurpose space capable of accommodating pop-up events and functions such as exhibitions, conferences and meetings .Through this interim use it re-establishes this iconic structure in the public consciousness, which will go a long way to supporting the longer term aspirations for its refurbishment.
Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Councillor Dick Walsh, said of the news: “This is a big step forward for the project. We recognise the importance of the pier to the people of Dunoon and the wider Cowal area – it’s probably the best remaining example of a wooden Victorian-era pier in Scotland – and the council is committed to saving it as a first stage and then lobbying for further funding to bring it fully back to use.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work in the background to get to this stage, with a few problems being ironed out, new techniques trialled, designs developed and the procurement processes followed and I am looking forward to the contracts being awarded and work beginning.
“Beyond this work, we are eager to lobby for further funding at national level to fulfil our long-term ambitions for both the pier and its buildings – bringing all the pier buildings back in to viable economic use and securing the pier head. We are fully committed to exploring any and all opportunities to preserve this iconic structure for future generations
“As a council our whole strategy is based on creating jobs and I’m sure that, by bringing the buildings on the pier back into use, we’ll do just that.”