A NEW water taxi service to take tourists up and down the River Tay is to get underway next year, after councillors approved a plan to build a series of pontoons along the river where the Venice-style vessels can pick up and drop off sightseers.
Perth and Kinross Council has now started searching for a contractor to design the pontoons, which are due to be completed by the end of October this year.
Councillors backed a proposal, in principal, to create a floating pontoon at Kinfauns, under the Friarton Bridge, which carries the dual carriageway to Dundee, last year.
Planning permission has now been granted for two more pontoons, near the Fergusson Gallery in Perth, and at Elcho Castle.
In a report recommending councillors approve the Kinfauns pontoon proposal the council’s development quality manager Nick Brian said: “This proposal would create an exciting river taxi facility that will promote tourism in Perth and the surrounding areas.”
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The council received 15 letters of objection to the pontoon proposal which raised concerns about the impact on pleasure sailing on the Tay, and the functionality of Perth Harbour.
A 2015 report to councillors said the final design of the Kinfauns pontoon “would be subject to further discussions with the relevant stakeholders and consultees before the final design specification is agreed and indeed an application lodged for detailed consent”.
Now a contract notice which has just been published on the Public Contracts Scotland website states: “PKC [Perth and Kinross Council] is seeking to appoint a suitably qualified and experienced contractor for a Design and Construct project, the objective of which is to construct and install three pontoon structures on the River Tay. The pontoons will enable public access to the river and provide an infrastructure for recreational use, along with the berthing of small river taxis and should be designed accordingly.
“The types of vessels using these pontoons will be river taxis and leisure yachts. The contractor will be responsible for the detailed design and all elements of the construction and commissioning.”
The notice goes on to say the contract period should last 28 weeks and that the completion date should be “no later than October 31, 2016”.
The council estimates the contract is worth up to POUNDS 450,000 is looking to appoint a suitable contractor no later than April 4.