Funding Approval - 17/4/11

Dear friends,

Once again I can write and advise you all that we have cleared another hurdle in getting the Queen’s Pier repaired and re-opened to use. Tynwald have approved the necessary funding to carry out what the engineers have called SAPS. (Stabilisation and Protection Scheme) but we would like to call the first phase in the process of full restoration.

The vote was close! Too close. Of course both Ramsey’s MHKs did the right thing as we would expect them to do and perhaps now is the time to praise and thank them for their valiant efforts in getting us this far over the last few years. With the economic cuts they have both faced this was a brave decision.

But what about the others? How 14 members could vote the cash, £100,000, for the work to be costed and programmed in May 2010 and then 11 months later refuse to vote for the necessary funds to do the work beggars belief. They were specifically requested not to vote for the first part if they were not willing to commit to the full programme. Were they really going to waste £100,000?

“Adoption of this option and commitment of expenditure is not recommended unless there is an implied commitment to future refurbishment and expenditure. Without this commitment, adoption of this option would merely delay a decision, incur unnecessary additional costs and extend the ongoing debate regarding the future of Queen’s Pier.”

I do not think it could have been expressed any clearer. Do you? Of course some Members have consistently felt unable to support the repairs to the Pier and we can all respect them for that. We live in a democracy.

There was much talk of other priorities. There always has been! The Pier has always been kicked into the long grass for the sake of other priorities. Not this time!

Many who spoke against the motion mentioned that “if the £40,000 allocated per year has proved insufficient how much more was it going to cost?” What they failed to grasp was that this money was a complete fiction. It was never spent which is why the Pier needs the work so badly now. £40,000 per year over the seventeen years (£680,000) would have been more than enough. All DoT spent was £38,986 over the twelve years to 2006. Less than one year’s allocation in total. That was and is the problem. These figures are not made up. They came from the Dept of Transport’s own written answer to Tynwald!! We would probably have copyright problems if I pasted it here but I have the full statement if anyone wants to check it!

1995 £6,815
1996 £2,942
1997 £4.345
1998 £604
1999 £1,742
2000 nil
2001 £1,343
2002 nil
2003 £3,129
2004 £2,515
2005 £15,325
2006 £225
TOTAL £38,986

I have thanked Anne Craine and Allan Bell already and it is always invidious to single out people for praise but I would like to break with tradition and also thank three more Members who helped achieve this result.

D.o.I Minister Phil Gawne of course for his sterling work with the Working Group(s) and in bringing the Reports and proposals to Tynwald. Peter Karran for being a good Friend of Queen’s Pier for so long and last but by no means least Chief Minister Tony Brown who grasped the nettle in 2006, and saw the proposals through to the end. That this is the chap I used to write such harsh words to for neglecting the Pier during his term as Transport Minster shows how far we have come. Thank you Gentlemen.

So there we are. The money has at last been allocated and the work can commence. I am told that work will get under way shortly and should be completed on schedule. We shall see. We shall also keep an eye on progress and the removal of artefacts.

We will be calling our Annual general Meeting later this year and I hope many of you will be able to attend and have something positive to celebrate.

Fred Hodgson,



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