What should have been a meeting to discuss the future of Port Rae pier began with disappointment as it struggled to attract more than a dozen Rosehearty residents. As such, the meeting’s organiser was left with no choice but to send those who had attended home.
The meeting, organised by Vice Chair of the Rosehearty Community Council Graham Collie, had been scheduled to start at 7pm on Monday, July 2.
However, with only nine people in attendance at seven, the meeting was delayed until a later, 7:30pm, start.
By quarter-to eight, it was clear that no further interested parties were going to arrive, and with only thirteen people in attendance, Mr Collie apologised to the gathered parties for the poor turnout.
“If the village doesn’t want to do anything about Port Rae, we should just abandon the meeting,” said Mr Collie, going on to add: “For nine people (three people arrived afterwards) to show up is absolutely criminal.
“It’s probably not in danger today or tomorrow, but if we don’t do something now, we probably won’t be able to.
“As far as I can see, we can’t go any further.
“Thank you all for coming out and wasting your time, frankly,” Mr Collie said.
Mr Collie, and the gathered members of the public, then began to direct questions to Councillor Partridge.
“If [Aberdeenshire Council] had done something in the past [to protect the pier] it would have cost less than £100,000. They’re now looking at an excess of £2 million.
“I can only go on anecdotal evidence that if the pier goes, Union Street will flood,” Mr Collie added.
Councillor Partridge, who had contacted Aberdeenshire Council, told those in attendance that Port Rae had been de-listed as a council-maintained harbour, to which Mr Collie replied he had seen no evidence of when that decision was made in any of the minutes he had investigated, saying that he believed the harbour to still be a council asset.
A member of the coastguard then asked: “What would happen if someone got hurt? Surely it would be more beneficial for the council to fix [Port Rae] than for someone to make a claim against them, or die.”
Councillor Partridge offered a way forward for the group, saying that they should organise a meeting with the harbour officers and the area manager.
A member of the public then commented that there has been enough ‘talk’ and that they wanted action on Port Rae.
Mr Collie said of the situation: “We’re at an impasse because there’s not enough people here.
“We need to find a way forward. Someone has to take responsibility.”
Mr Collie added that he would bring Port Rae up at the next Community Council meeting in Rosehearty in the hopes that more people would attend a meeting organised by the community councillors.
The long-tern future of Port Rae has been discussed in previous Community Council meetings at Rosehearty, with former councillors Sydney Mair and Robert Watson being told that the pier would, probably, not survive another harsh winter if left as is.
Councillor Watson had said at the time that he had brought the issue of fixing the pier up on numerous occasions, and that Coastal Protection were monitoring the situation.
Councillor Mair, meanwhile, advised the Community Council to take the issue to the top of Aberdeenshire Council for a solution, telling the Chair to write a letter to the Chief Executive.