WILLIE WATT MBE
Tuesday 28 October 2020 marked Willie Watt`s last meeting as a board member of Wick Harbour Authority following 15 years of sterling and valued service most of which served as Chairman.
Willie`s contribution to the harbour cannot be understated with many incremental improvements to both our working practices and our infrastructure seen during his tenure.
Undoubtedly the catalyst for the economic revival of Wick Harbour was the success of the marina, which continues to draw visitors from near and far to the town. The harbour is once again a vibrant and valued focal point in our community. The success of the marina led to greater confidence in our ability to move forward with many other significant improvements and changes around the harbour – the results and benefits of which you see today. The board, under Willie`s chairmanship adopted a stepping stone approach to every project it tackled from enviromental improvements around the harbour, addressing repairs, removal of old ice plant, removal of Kestrel tower, installation of the Heavy Lift pads – the list goes on and on as can be seen below.
- Wick Harbour installed a marina pontoon in the outer harbour area in 2007
- The large marina pontoon system in the Inner Harbour was completed and was opened by HRH Princess Anne. This area had to be extended in 2013 due to its success and popularity amongst the yachting community. Dredging of the harbour also took place.
- Wick Harbour Authority moved from our old premises in Harbour Terrace to the new Wick Harbour Office. Various environmental improvements were made around the harbour. A valued addition to the area was the re-siting of the Old Canon (it was previously located at Wick Riverside). It now sits proudly on Harbour Quay and is a popular attraction for visitors to the area. Willie was also instrumental in setting up the Wick Paths Group.
- 2013 saw the removal of the Ice plant and other disused buildings to make room for other harbour developments. New Marina showers and toilets for visitors were completed.
- In 2014 Wick Harbour Authority spent significant monies creating 2 Heavy Lift pads on the River Commercial Quay. In addition, the Marina was extended and storm damage repairs and improvements were made.
- The signing of a lease between Wick Harbour Authority and Beatrice Offshore Windfarm (BOWL) took place in October 2017. This was the culmination of over 2 years of heavy negotiation following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding where BOWL committed to using Wick Harbour as the long-term operational base for the Beatrice wind farm. The operations and maintenance base was opened in 2019 by HRH Prince Charles.
- BOWL construction works commenced with the removal of the Old Slipway rails, moving on to piling works for the new BOWL pontoon area. The Old Slipway Winch House and “Kestrel” Tower were demolished late 2018.
- The Duke of Rothesay officially opened the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Base in July 2019
- Significant dredging works were undertaken during 2019 to deepen the navigational channel and harbour entrances. this work was undertaken by the Admiral Day dredging vessel.
- New Port Closed Lights and New Port Lateral Mark installed
The foregoing is a small snapshot of the many numerous achievements seen during Willie involvement with Wick Harbour. Malcolm Bremner , Harbour Master and Board Member said “Willie`s drive and determination has steered the harbour on a great course these past 15 years . On a personal note his help and advice over the years has been invaluable. ” ” We must also thank Valerie for the hours of family time Willie gave up over the years in support of the harbour”.
John Mackay current Chairman thanked Willie for his significant contribution to his community, the harbour and its staff. Due to Covid restrictions our plans to celebrate and recognise Willie`s contribution had to be altered but a short socially distanced outdoor ceremony took place at the marina on Wednesday 28/10/2020 at 2pm.
We wish Willie good health and happiness to enjoy his retirement with Valerie and the family .