Jackie Baillie and Maurice Corry who are in the fight to save Helensburgh Pier.
By Democrat reporter
A petition to bring the iconic paddle steamer Waverley back to Helensburgh has reached more than 1,100 signatures after this month’s ‘Wave for the Waverley’ rally.
An estimated crowd of 300 people turned out at the town’s pier in glorious sunshine for the weekend event, organised by Helensburgh Seafront Development Project (HSDP).
The crowd, which included local MSPs Jackie Baillie and Maurice Corry, had a clear message at the rally – save the pier, and bring the Waverley back.
Waverley Excursions Ltd, the operators of the historic ship, announced last month that the much-loved vessel will not call at Helensburgh during its 2019 season because of the condition of the pier.
A shuttle bus service will instead be run to Kilcreggan Pier, where the Waverley will call on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Ms Baillie has pledged to help seek support from the Scottish Government, while Argyll and Bute Council has reaffirmed its keenness to restore the pier, which closed to marine traffic in October.
However, it also repeated its earlier warning that repairs to the pier – which it is estimated will cost nearly £1 million – may not be complete for the Waverley’s 2020 season.
HDSP said in a statement this week: “The HSDP would like to thank all those who turned out for the ‘Wave for the Waverley’ event which took place on Helensburgh Pier on Saturday.
“A crowd, estimated to be in excess of 300 people, took to the threatened iconic Victorian pier in protest against its closure to marine traffic.
“Residents, business owners and community group representatives from Helensburgh and surrounding areas along with MSPs Jackie Baillie and Maurice Corry called for the council to dig deep and find the funds to repair the iconic structure.
“[This is] whilst supporting the HSDP’s vision to upgrade and regenerate the pier to allow it to accept craft of all sizes including a ferry service for cruise passengers from Ocean Terminal in Greenock thereby creating a sustainable future for the pier for many years to come.
“The HSDP also took the opportunity to reveal to the public artist’s impressions of a vision as to how the pier may look once repaired and upgraded.
“The HSDP would also like to thank local resident, Carolann Cameron, who started a petition to ‘Bring the Waverley Back’.
“Numerous comments have been left calling for the repair and restoration of the pier to accommodate the return of PS Waverley to the town.
“The HSDP has also been buoyed by offers of support from locals and would ask that, if anyone is interested in helping them bring new life to Helensburgh Pier, you contact them by emailing helpHSDP@gmail.com.”