SCotland’S busiest lifeboat station is set for major facelift.
The RNLI in Queensferry carried out more rescues than any other in the country last year is set to get a new station.
The project, estimated to cost in the region of £500,000, is six months behind schedule due to the extended repair works to the Hawes Pier but it is hoped that work on the two-storey building will begin within days and be operational by October this year.
But a delighted Tom Robertson, lifeboat operations manager at Queensferry, said this week: “The works look set to begin within days. Once the Hawes Pier works are completed we can move forward and begin the construction process.”
The new facility is a two storey build and will comprise of a training room, crew changing facilities, a mechanics workshop and a dedicated shop to sell RNLI souvenirs.
Mr Robertson added: “We are also in line for a new lifeboat, the Atlantic 85, which is the largest inshore lifeboat the RNLI has in service. The boat is bigger than our our present one and would not fit in our current station, hence the need for a new station. The siting of the new station will also make it easier for crew to launch the boat.”
Mr Robertson welcomed the additional space the new facility offers, saying: “The current station is very cramped. At present when we have school groups or the like visit the station, we have to split them up as there is not enough space for any amount of people to be together in one room. The ladies who sell RNLI goods have also had to brave the elements whereas now they will have a dedicated shop indoors to sell items.”
While construction work on the pier will take place over the summer months, a compound for workers will need to be sited on the Hawes Promenade, similar to the one that has been based there over the past year.
Almond councillor Norman Work said: “I welcome the RNLI getting its new station but it is unfortunate the Hawes Pier works have taken longer than expected. This will mean that another works compound will be situated on the Hawes Promenade over the summer period for the second summer in a row. I sympathise with local businesses who will be impacted by the possible loss of trade due to a lack of parking facilities at the promenade.
A spokesperson for Edinburgh City Council said: “The works at the Hawes Pier were scheduled to finish at the end of February but the contractor is allowed a further three weeks to complete the job. There is still some dredging and final piling work to be carried out and we are hopeful this will be completed in the alloted time so that work can begin on the new RNLI station.”