Symbister Harbor at Whalsay. Photo: John Coutts
Ten years is a long wait for the toilets, but that’s exactly how long some ferry users have had to wait. But there could be some relief later in the year.
The current status of toilets both at ferry terminals and on board inter-island ferries was the first item discussed at the audit committee meeting today (Tuesday) following a report presented by infrastructure manager John Smith.
Five ferry terminals currently do not have toilets available; Lerwick, Symbister, Grutness, Fair Isle and Foula.
Councilor Ian Scott asked: “It’s been 10-12 years since this problem was recognized, why exactly has nothing been done?
Mr Smith said the cost of retrofitting older ferries was prohibitive and the use of portable cabins on board would severely limit car capacity. He also mentioned that the possible construction of fixed links was also a factor.
Claire Christy from the Marine and Air Operations department added some more positive news, saying: “At Symbister, we have commissioned engineers to conduct an initial site investigation, and we are sharing this with the community. We will make a call for tenders for this work in order to install it.
“Glutness, we have identified a combination meeting room and toilet designed by a local contractor. We applied for and successfully received the first stage of funding for this.
She suggested that the next phase of both projects will take place by spring or summer.
A portable cabin for Fair Isle has also been mooted as a solution.