It will soon be possible to take a river cruise to and from the Liberty Stadium in Swansea. Passengers on-board the Copper Jack will be able to get on and off the boat near the stadium via a new landing pontoon at the Copperworks.
The pontoon will cost up to £300,000 and could be installed by the second half of this year.
It will mean that the Copper Jack will have a second loading point alongside its existing base in Swansea marina, and could even open up the possibility of a river taxi service.
A report into the possibility of creating new ways to travel from the mouth of the River Tawe towards the Swansea Valley and Neath has outlined the new plans for the city.
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Published by the Swansea Community Boat Trust, a charity that operates the Copper Jack community boat, the report explains that it is possible, with significant funding and other support, to create waterways as far as Clydach and Jersey Marine.
The report has received funding through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which is funded by the European Union and the Welsh Government, with support coming from the Swansea Bay Fisheries Local Action Group, managed by Swansea Council.
Swansea Community Boat Trust board member, John Andrew Davies, said that while the Copper Jack couldn’t currently operate because of the pandemic, the trust was looking forward to offering “an exciting new destination”.
He said: “The trust is delighted that the report and video helped the council get the funding for a landing pontoon at the Copperworks.
“Copper Jack cannot operate at the moment due to the pandemic, but when things improve the trust looks forward to running boat trips for the public from Swansea Marina to an exciting new destination.
“For the first time, passengers will be able to get off Copper Jack to enjoy the Copperworks experience, or visit the Liberty Stadium.
“The report and video also highlight the potential benefits of linking the navigable River Tawe with local canals to create a 35-mile cruising inland waterway.
“This ambitious proposal has been around for a few years now, so it would be great if key stakeholders already working hard to regenerate the canals of Swansea Bay could get together to agree a long term strategy to deliver this fantastic project, whenever some funding becomes available.”
Longer term recommendations include a route extension to link the Tawe just north of the Liberty Stadium via a 5km stretch of upgraded waterway, through Nant Fendrod and Fendrod Lake, with the Swansea Canal at Clydach.
While another recommendation would link the Tawe from SA1 through Swansea docks to the Tennant Canal at Crymlyn Basin.
Work would include the creation of new locks and bridges plus extensive dredging and excavation. The work could cost more than £35m – and funding would have to be sourced.
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Swansea Council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, Robert Francis-Davies, said the plans would support future development and job opportunities in the area.
He said: “We were pleased to support this report. The recommendations represent a positive output and help lay the foundations for future development and job opportunities for the Tawe.
“We’re already looking at future development opportunities on the River Tawe. This includes improving access to the river to encourage the public to travel by water instead of the road.”
At present, as part of its £1bn regeneration programme, the council is developing the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks Powerhouse, with Welsh distiller Penderyn set to have a base there.
The council also plans to work with a development partner to transform more of the copperworks site, the riverside site of the former St Thomas station, and the area alongside the SA1 sailbridge.
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