Saaremaa Municipality has over 50 harbors in which millions have been invested in recent years, giving ten of them a makeover.
The renovated Abaja Harbor was opened in Kihelkonna on Saturday. Even though the renovation work itself was completed in less than a year, construction was preceded by years of lobbying, different disputes and looking for ways to fix up the old port, "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.
Many find the renovated Abaja Harbor to be among the prettiest small harbors on the island.
"We collected signatures and found 40 boat owners who wanted a harbor in the first week alone. We did not have to go far at all. All 40 used to store their boats on trailers at home," said project lead Taavi-Aadu Ait.
The renovation of the main building of the Altja Harbor, that lies not too far from the Abaja Harbor, was also completed on Saturday. The work cost €150,000.
Local people say that the port is an important piece of infrastructure if one lives by the sea. Having it fixed up lends the area value.
"It is a representational building for us. We are the most westward port in Estonia and perhaps live somewhat differently from others, said Toivo Naagel, head of the Altja Harbor project.
Saaremaa Municipality has a total of 52 ports of which 40 are included in the ports register. The municipality is working on a ports development plan to lay down a roadmap for the next ten years.
"To boost port safety, expansion to make sure ports have slipways and peers. It is very important. Also, for them to be mapped and marked," said Saaremaa Municipality Mayor Jüri Linde.
Around €4 million from island fishing has been used to fix up no fewer than 17 fishing ports in the last 13 years. Activities should continue during the next funding period.
"The money is for reconstructing old ports. This means that no new harbors will be constructed," said Heino Vipp, head of MTÜ Saarte Kalandus.
All ports are seeing increased use as the islanders have bought a lot of new vessels during the coronavirus years.
Editor: Marcus Turovski