This week Craig Borland reacts to the news that the tendering process for the Helensburgh waterfront contract has been put on hold – and the realisation that the town’s pier might actually have a part to play in the work.

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SINCE I started writing this opinion column a year or so ago, one subject has featured more often than any other: Helensburgh’s seafront.

Whether it’s the multi million pound waterfront development, or the deteriorating state of the pier, I’ve repeatedly observed that no matter how much you get right elsewhere in Helensburgh, getting it wrong on the seafront – as in any waterfront town – is like leaving a gaping black hole in the brightest of smiles, at which you can’t help but look.

READ MORE: Helensburgh pier could feature in waterfront plans after all

Argyll and Bute Council has always insisted that though they sit cheek-by-jowl to each other, and have been inextricably linked since the day they both existed, the pier and the site of the waterfront development are entirely separate things. Financially understandable, perhaps, but to me more than a tad illogical.

Until now, and the apparent realisation – thanks, it seems, to the construction companies that have expressed an interest in building the new leisure centre – that when it comes to delivering the materials that will be needed to create this brand new facility, the pier might actually have a role to play.

That this thought doesn’t appear to have occurred until now to anyone involved in the waterfront project – and remember, these are the people who see a drawing of the pier every time they look at a plan of the development site – strikes me as surprising, to say the least.

READ MORE: Finance fears over latest Helensburgh waterfront delay

But, as many an official (usually not those responsible for holding the purse strings, mind you) has admitted, in Helensburgh and far beyond, in the past: we are where we are.

And while the realisation that, actually, the pier and the waterfront development should be a partnership has come a little late – and might not have become a possibility at all, but for the “technical irregularity” which has persuaded the council to restart the tendering process for the main waterfront contract – it’s a welcome realisation nonetheless.

READ MORE: Helensburgh waterfront delay 'not our fault', senior councillor insists

More of this joined-up thinking as the project rumbles on over the months and years ahead would be equally welcome.