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At a Mareel site progress meeting on Tuesday 18 January DITT Construction Ltd informed Shetland Arts that progress on the Mareel site had been severely disrupted by the bad weather experienced across the UK through November/ December.

John Tait, Director DITT Construction Ltd said: “Snow and gales affected transport and shipping, roads on mainland Britain were snowbound affecting deliveries to ports, and ports and ship sailings were further affected by gale force winds which disrupted sailing times. These disruptions impacted on the foyer timbers being delivered to site on the last day of work prior to Christmas, so that no works were progressed to the front of the building”.

John added: “Crucially the programmed wind and water tight date of the end of November could not be met. The weather also disrupted the main roofing contractors work due to risks of working in icy conditions and in high winds”.

As it stands the building is not wind and watertight and there is risk of further delay should winter weather conditions continue to disrupt progress on site. Every effort is being made by DITT Construction Ltd and the Design Team to recover lost time.

However after careful consideration of the build programme and potential further disruption from winter weather the Mareel Project Team concluded today (20 Jan. 11) that the opening of Mareel will slip from spring 2011 into Summer 2011. Shetland Arts today notified acts who had been provisionally booked to perform in Mareel and hirers of the building in July 2011 that the building would not now be operational during this month. Most significantly Mareel will not be open for Tall Ships 2011.

Gwilym Gibbons, Director of Shetland Arts said: “It is clearly regrettable that Mareel will not now be open until the summer of 2011 and most significantly that the four day Tall Ships event will be missed. The severe weather experienced last month was unprecedented and unfortunately came at a crucial time in the construction programme”.

Gwilym added: “Mareel is long awaited and when open will provide a friendly high quality music and cinema venue for generations to come. The delay although disappointing particularly in terms of Tall Ships, is a delay of weeks in the fulfilment of an aspiration that goes back 15 years. Mareel will be well worth the wait”.

Watch Mareel Video Blog 2 for more explanation of the delays below:

Mareel Video Blog 2: 20th Jan 2011 from Shetland Arts on Vimeo.

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