Election candidate demands a new look at Lossie harbour

Dennis Slater
Dennis Slater – demanding a new route for Lossiemouth Harbour

A FORMER FISHING skipper who is currently embroiled in a bid for election to Moray Council has slammed a Harbour Company for its failure to work with its local community.

Dennis Slater is no stranger to Lossiemouth Harbour, having famously played a leading role in the 1992 protest at the Moray port against restrictions on the time that fishing boats could spend at sea.

Now the former skipper has slammed board members of the Elgin & Lossiemouth Harbour Company, who he accuses of failing to take on board the views of the local community in blocking off a roadway at Lossiemouth harbour which had been a right of way for many years.

Mr Slater welcomed the intervention of Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, who attempted but failed this week to force a change of track by the Harbour Company – and is now backing the MSP in his call for a new look at how the Harbour is owned and managed.

He said: “I’m delighted to see that our local MSP has taken the Harbour Company to task over this issue, and that he is to seek the views of the community on harbour ownership.

“No matter who you are or how much power you yield, it is simply wrong for anyone to impose restrictions on a community in the manner undertaken by Elgin and Lossiemouth Harbour Company.”

Campaigning in the Heldon & Laich seat for which voters will go to the polls on Thursday, Mr Slater insists that a new approach is needed in Moray Council, saying that party politics has simply been a block to progress.

“Party alliances need to be left to national politics with the recent block decision by six SNP councillors over a wind turbine planning application demonstrating the need for community views taking priority in the local council,” Mr Slater said.

He added: “At Lossiemouth we now have another issue that is of utmost importance to the local community – talking to your community is the key to any organisation having a successful relationship with their neighbours, the Harbour in Lossiemouth should be a community asset and so I would support any move to ensure proper consultations over its future take place.”

As reported by insideMoray yesterday, the Elgin & Lossiemouth Harbour Board have insisted that they will not change their minds over the controversial bollards – and that has led Mr Lochhead to call for a new look at the ownership of the harbour, which is operated under rules that date back to the early 1800’s.

There are four candidates are contesting the Heldon & Laich by-election – Dennis Slater (independent), Joyce O’Hara (SNP), James MacKessack-Leitch (Greens) and Peter Bloomfield (Conservative).