WITH its harbour full of yachts, even on a dull day Peel quayside has an air of St Tropez about it these days.
The government-constructed £2.5m marina has transformed the inner harbour into a haven for leisure boats and a secure berth for working fishing boats.
The marina, which opened in May 2009, provides 118 pontoons, 80 of which are occupied by local boats. The remainder are snapped up by yachts visiting from all round the UK, Ireland, Europe and America.
Director of harbours Captain Michael Brew said: ‘The department felt that developing a marina in Peel would be successful in attracting visitors and unlocking hidden demand for marina berths among residents. What has been a surprise is the speed at which this occurred and the level of demand that has been maintained.’
He added that when the plans were being developed, a conscious decision was made to ensure that the pontoons would occupy only the middle and upper end of the inner harbour, leaving the seaward end of east and west quays for use by commercial fishing vessels.
‘As a result, the fishing industry has not been unduly inconvenienced by the marina, which has, in fact, provided a significant benefit,’ he said.
‘Construction of the water impounding gate required the narrowing of the inner harbour by also constructing two new quays. This had given the impounded area of the harbour a much greater level of shelter in bad weather.’
The marina has proved popular, too, with pedestrians, who appreciate the ease of access between both sides of the harbour by the Fenella Bridge, which had to be repaired earlier this year.
‘Judging by the impact that the marina has had on the town, the level of demand which continues to far exceed the number of available berths, and the feedback received by the department, the marina has undoubtedly been very successful,’ said Captain Brew.
‘Most people are happy with the marina and the way in which it operates. But this does not mean the department is complacent about the level of service that should be provided and we are always looking to improve things where we can and where we can afford to’.
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