This morning I was lucky enough to get some work experience with the Harbour Master. I got to see first-hand what the Harbour Master’s important role involves and some of the challenges it presents, such as keeping the docks working whilst supporting the harbour community. Bristol City Council is a unique position because unlike a lot of other councils, we actually manage our harbour ourselves. The harbour team do a lot of work ensuring we have a safe and vibrant harbour we can enjoy, while also protecting the city from flooding.
After embarking the Harbour Master boat ‘Mariner’ I was shown underneath Plimsoll Bridge to look at the challenges our aging infrastructure presents. A lot of the city’s bridges were built over 100 years ago, which means repairs are more complex, time consuming and often costly too. Prince St Bridge was a recent example of how difficult repairs can be on these older structures.
It’s these historic sites which make our city unique and therefore why we must protect and maintain them.
On my way back to the office I bumped into members of the Bristol Merchant Navy Association, who invited me into their coffee morning. They kindly offered me a cup and we talked about Bristol’s world-famous maritime heritage and how the harbour and its uses have transformed.
Since this morning’s visit to Plimsoll Bridge, one lane has been closed for the weekend for emergency repairs. The team are working hard to get it fixed, but this is a perfect example of the challenges we face while using ageing 1960’s infrastructure.
I remember cycling along the harbour when it was full of derelict warehouses. It’s amazing to think about how much has changed since then and what future development could look like. I want to thank the harbour team for their time this morning, and for the work they do for this important asset every day.