Ports of Jersey have outlined their initial plans to upgrade St. Helier's harbour area, and replace the island's key ferry terminal.
The St Helier Harbour Master Plan is a long-term development plan which begins with the redevelopment of Elizabeth Harbour, and then supports the subsequent transformation of Albert Pier, La Collette and Victoria Pier, the Old Harbours and La Folie, and New North Quay.
It is hoped that the plans will "ensure the port’s long-term viability, improve customer experience, create new commercial opportunities, and realise the area’s potential as a leisure, cultural and tourism destination".
Lifeline freight connections at St Helier Harbour currently handle 98% of all cargo entering the island, including food, clothes and materials needed to build, furnish and heat local homes.
The commercial port currently deals with 550,000 tonnes per year and is nearing capacity. It is therefore crucial that the Harbour Master Plan starts with developing the Elizabeth Harbour - whose terminal block was opened by the Queen in 1989 - as the most immediate requirement.
Video: An explanation of the new vision for the harbour.
Elizabeth Harbour’s Roll on Roll Off (RoRo) operation is the Island’s lifeline for vital supplies and the Harbour Master Plan proposals will see the existing Lift On Lift Off (LoLo) operation moved from New North Quay to Elizabeth Harbour to co-locate with the RoRo operations.
The new combined area will safeguard the Island’s supply chain by creating capacity to handle future freight requirements with around 50% more space within freight handing area.
It is hoped that this will futureproof the harbour for up to 30 years. Harbourmaster, Bill Sadler, explained that this is particularly important during busy times which includes summer, Christmas and potato season.
Pictured: The Harbour Master Plan includes the transformation of Elizabeth Harbour, Albert Pier, La Collette and Victoria Pier, the Old Harbours and La Folie, and New North Quay.
There are plans to use the new space more flexibly to ensure more operational efficiency, as well as “embedding sustainability in every aspect”.
Port operations will be pushed further away from town whilst a dedicated passenger road and a separate freight road will be created to “deconflict activity” and “create a vibrant harbour community, which is better connected to town with more inclusive and accessible spaces for use by Islanders and visitors”.
The Elizabeth Terminal building, which opened in 1989, will be replaced with a more modern building which overlooks the sea creating an “arriving and departing experience that the island can be proud of”. It is hoped that these renovations will “enhance public realm to make the harbour a more attractive place to spend time at”.
There are also hopes to invest in facilities for leisure users and visitors who store their private boats at the harbour.
Video: An explanation of the proposed redevelopment of the Elizabeth Terminal.
Ports of Jersey CEO, Matt Thomas, explained that the public consultation is crucial to “capture and incorporate people’s thoughts” and ensure that the new harbour is “done for the island and not to the island”.
The public consultation, which will run for four weeks, includes two surveys enabling islanders to comment on the proposals for Elizabeth Harbour and also share their views on what the Harbour means to them and their future aspirations for the area. Feedback can be given online or at three public events in October.
The redevelopment of Elizabeth Harbour is just the first stage in what is a much longer-term redevelopment plan. It is estimated that the construction of this phase will take approximately three years, during which time the next stages of the plans will be decided. The construction will not affect the current operations at the harbour.
Although Ports of Jersey is 100% owned by the Government, the company does not receive any funding and the Harbour Master Plan will be entirely funded by the company itself although the total cost is still undetermined.
Pictured: An architect’s impression of what the new passenger terminal at Elizabeth Harbour could look like. Please note, this is not the final design.
Harbourmaster, Bill Sadler said: “We all depend on reliable connectivity, whether for our lifeline freight connections or to maintain links with friends and relatives, and our economy is built on transport links.
"With ageing infrastructure and freight activity exceeding capacity, it is now more important than ever to bring St Helier Harbour into the modern day.
“This Master Plan will secure the viability of our lifeline port by making it more efficient, increasing its capacity to handle freight, and freeing up space to create vibrant community spaces for Islanders and visitors to enjoy.”
Pictured: The current Elizabeth Terminal harbour building was opened by the Queen on a visit to the island in 1989. (Jersey Heritage)
Ports of Jersey CEO, Matt Thomas, said: “The Harbour Master Plan is an opportunity to improve the resilience of our port infrastructure and to regenerate the heart of St Helier. It will enable us to continue to provide essential public services and undertake significant investment without requiring funding from taxpayers.
“The Master Plan will take many years to be fully realised, so we have time to ensure that the detailed plans that we formulate in the years to come reflect the expectations of Islanders and preserve the distinctive character of the Harbour.”
Pictured top: An architect’s impression of what the new passenger terminal at Elizabeth Harbour could look like - though this is not the final design.
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