Cruising For The Future

The regeneration for our eastern coastline is topical and has long been a subject of conversation. Whilst we have seen many impressive and elaborate suggestions over the years, we believe the answer needs to be simple….. We need small-scale regeneration to our beautiful and often complimented seafront and townscape, whilst upgrading the facilities and make Guernsey the most attractive Island to visit either by sea or air.

During 2015 we saw two traffic lanes made into one and then back to two lanes, plus thousands spent on small items to dress up our seafront to help enhance the area and make this island more attractive to locals and visitors (particularly the cruise ship visitors). We had a play with our own ideas to enhance the seafront, including elements we think it really needs.

It is always very attractive to see the cruise ships anchored outside St Peter Port harbour, but I often watch passengers who are ferried to shore and back, spending time in long queues and getting all together fed up. (As you can see in the photo below). Let’s face it, our facilities for passengers arriving and departing is far from the best and we would like to see this addressed before we become known as an attractive location that is too much effort to visit.

Focusing on the eastern seafront, the idea of turning Belgrave Bay into a lagoon has been suggested in the past is certainly an attractive proposal, although it has some environmental drawbacks. It featured ideas such as a new coast road to help with traffic flow north / south and new land areas creating attractive parcels of land, ripe to enhance life in the island and offer a solution to that common question…. “What activities do we have in the island to entertain ourselves?”. Converting Belgrave Bay into a lagoon would open up all sorts of opportunities but it does not provide a desperately needed solution to make visiting our Island by sea easier.

If Guernsey is going to step well into the 21st Century, what should we do to future proof our island and what do we want to achieve? We think the answer is to make Guernsey the place to visit and give those visitors an easy, stress free trip to our very attractive townscape and island attractions.

In summary, we would like to:

  • Create a fixed berth for our cruise passengers;
  • Provide safe and easy access from the new berth directly to the main seafront areas;
  • Create a new land area with modern and varied facilities not only for visitors, but for locals too, whilst maintaining a traditional design to protect our landscape.

For our own entertainment, we have sketched around ideas in the office and come up with our solutions on how to achieve this.  We think that the creation is simple yet effective.  The sketches are only concept ideas and are not fully developed into 3D models or high-res glossy images, and are simply for illustration purposes.

1. Rather than creating a large mass landfill at the extents of our harbour where the water is deep enough for a deep berth, or creating a long thin pier, we would create a landmass large enough to cater for a new fixed berth but also have the added benefit of forming a new larger marina. (Some would call this a ‘Super Yacht’ Marina). Access for cruise passengers would be safe and easy and avoid incidents such as the one reported in a recent Guernsey Press article where high winds prevented life rafts from making the short trip. (Resulting in disappointment for passengers and a missed opportunity for tourists to spend money in our shops!)

The improved facilities would also benefit those super yachts that frequent our island to fill up on cheap fuel. The new ‘Super Yacht’ Marina would cater for the larger vessels and attract high net worth individuals to motor into Guernsey. Our current marinas are often full and unable to cope with more capacity. Any regeneration including a new Super Yacht marina would, in our view, be a fine solution.

2. As a new proposed deep-water berth will be located far away from our seafront, we will need to cater for those unwilling, or unable, to take the long walk into town. Our new petit train is a great idea, but it may not entirely solve this commute problem, given the numbers. Our buses are too large and we would like to avoid loads of busses ferrying passengers back and forth along the sea front.

We quite fancy something more traditional, and in keeping with our town landscape and the history of our island. Something that is traditional yet modern, whilst safe and easy to use and not adding to traffic congestion.

Whilst we thought about hiring out a Segway to all passengers, we believe the most attractive solution is bringing back a tram to our seafront. What better way to transport passengers and commuters from Salarie Corner to the bus station and back than the most traditional form of transport our seafront has ever had! Obviously fitting tracks in the tarmac will be costly and disruptive, but think about the San Francisco vibe when you catch the tram on your way to work!

3. The opportunities for modern and varied facilities are literally endless and could be developed in the future. A mix of shops, services, cafes, restaurants, fisherman’s tearooms, the list goes on. Not forgetting monuments and public art. We think the mast on our roundabout is a fantastic example and we would really like to see our new landmass developed with a variety of sensible functioning facilities complemented with monuments, public art, park areas, planting and perhaps a fountain or pond.

4. Air links to the mainland are being increasingly criticised. High costs, restricted travel times, technical faults and even staffing issues are reported. Whilst the airport and airlines have to resolve these issues, we have thrown in the possibility of a heli-port located on the landmass. Imagine a quick tram ride from your office in the morning, to catch the next helicopter into central London for your meetings in the afternoon. We can see a few technical barriers with this plan, but hey, we are just dreaming out loud here.

You may remember the creation of North Beach car park and QEII marina, that took some effort but the desire was there and the need was essential for the Island’s growth and now look at us. The QEII is full and not able to cope with any larger vessels. Therefore, how do we expand for the future?

We would suggest a natural progression from previous extensions to our harbour. The past two centuries have seen the harbour expand further and further out to sea with new marina’s being formed along the way. With the natural expansion of our Island, increasing demands of modern society and the established new tourism of visiting cruise ships, further extension seems to be inevitable.

We would welcome feedback on our ideas. Whilst the subject of costs and funding will be too difficult to debate at this early concept stage, this is more an idea to kick-start a discussion to bring our eastern seafront right into the 21st Century and prepare for the next 100 years.

Produced By;

Gary Naftel

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