Time to talk up town as economy gets boost

IT WILL not have gone without notice that last week’s Montrose Review contained reports of two very significant positive steps in the Royal Burgh’s economic infrastructure.

First, the new quay at the south side of the harbour opened, with a visit from an anchor handling tug supply ship, Siem Amethyst, which was in town to do business with new tenants of the Harbour Board.

And then the massive grain store and drying facilities, built for local consortium Angus Cereals, opened its doors to its first consignment of barley, ripe from the field.

It is but phase one of a three-stage investment in such facilities.

The economic consequences of these two investments - that many coastal towns would give their back teeth for - cannot be over-estimated.

Convener of Angus Council’s infrastructure services, which includes economic development, is local councillor David May.

He was fulsome in his praise of the benefit these two investments will have for the economy.

Councillor May told us: “This is a great boost to the economy of Angus and Montrose.

“And especially at a time when the economy is flat-lining everywhere else.

“We have 200 metres of extra usable quay space, and can attract more ships to the town.

“This will be beneficial to jobs, with more money hopefully spent in Montrose as well as nearby.”

The convener continued: “From my reading of it, it will attract more tenants and sub-contractors to the quay.

“This is a tribute to the work of Port Authority chief executive John Paterson and the harbour board, as well as everyone who works there.

“They have had a huge input over the past 10 or 15 year, and the port is now thriving.”

And Mike Weir, our MP at Westminster, said: “With doom and gloom stories about the UK economy in the last week, I am delighted the Montrose economy is rising above this with the news of a double boost; the opening of a new grain store and the first vessel to use the new quay at the harbour.

“Agriculture plays such an important part in the local economy and the investment made in building this new grain store and drying facility will be strongly welcomed not only by local businesses, but because its closeness to Montrose Harbour could help reduce transportation costs.

“Meanwhile, the new quay helps secure Montrose’s commercial future as a port for existing and new businesses including the emerging offshore renewable energy industries.”

These views have been echoed by other local politicians and business leaders.

So it looks as if, in these difficult economic times, Montrose can hold its head up high and be a leader rather than a follower.