Work will be done to repair ‘extensive’ damage to the Alfred pier in Port St Mary in the coming months, the Department of Infrastructure (DoI) has confirmed.
Concerned about the state of the breakwater, the local authority and Rushen MHKs met representatives from the DoI last week.
Michelle Haywood, of Discover Diving, has dived extensively in the area of the breakwater and reported to one of the commissioners that there are big holes in it, big enough to swim into.
Rushen MHKs have also voiced their concerns and after the January storms and high tides asked the department to survey the state of the structure, built in 1882.
The authority discussed it at its last meeting, on February 19, and agreed to raise it with director of harbours Ann Reynolds and Rushen MHKs.
The local authority is worried about the impact of it failing on the village, not least on increasing the vulnerability of areas such as Lime Street, which already floods at very high tides.
‘My concern is various people say it is unsafe and unsound,’ said commissioner Alec Merchant. ‘We are in for high tides ... I have read reports about the tides’ lunar effect [on high tides forecast in October and in 2015], it is important to do some repairs this year.
‘Learning from the experience in the UK and the damage there and also what’s happened locally. It certainly has had a battering, at low tide you can see cracks and hollows.’
Rushen MHK Laurence Skelly – who has since been appointed Infrastructure Minister – said: ‘It was a very good and productive meeting. There is considerable concern with regards to the damage … we know the Alfred pier was in a very perilous state.
‘The department has conducted an assessment, we discussed the report and came up with a plan. I’m delighted they have come up with that.
‘They will do remedial work and by the end of the summer it should be completed. The damage is extensive. Some is superficial, it’s what you cannot see ... the worst is under water, it’s a specialised project to fill that, we will see some activity there.’
Ann Reynolds confirmed work will be carried out shortly.
‘We want to do repairs before the next major storms. Our priority is to get the work done.’
The work will be financed by the department, which is good news for ratepayers.