TWO Port councillors are backing moves to build a non-wooden version of the Comet.

Chris Curley and Drew McKenzie have declared that any replacement for the current rotted replica must be located outdoors and 'stand proud' in Port Glasgow.

But they say that, whilst pledging full consultation with local people, that the community has to be 'realistic' about the choice of material in order to guarantee a lasting tribute.

The Telegraph asked for the Port councillors' comments after we revealed earlier this month that Inverclyde Council is considering having a plastic Comet built.

Councillor Curley said: "I do think we have to be realistic with how that [a new replica] is constructed.

"Preserving timber ships is very expensive and ultimately fruitless.

"I am of the generation where the Comet replica was always part of the landscape in Port Glasgow and it would be a shame if this presence is lost."

Councillor McKenzie added: "We don't need a boat that is seaworthy.

"It will never sail.

"It doesn't need an engine.

"But it needs to stand proud in the town of Port Glasgow so that future generations can learn the story behind it.

"It has become a symbol, an emblem, of Port Glasgow.

"If it was made of wood it would go the same way as the current boat.

"If it was made of metal then that just wouldn't be correct.

"So the challenge is to find a durable material that can be made to look like the original wood.

"That is what is being currently investigated."

A sub-group of the Port Glasgow Regeneration Forum is in discussion with council officials regarding a replacement for the current exact copy of the original 1812 Comet which has been left to rot through a decade of neglect.

The possibility of a plastic Comet has been floated as a potential cut-price solution after Municipal Buildings bosses received estimates from two shipyards of £250,000 and £750,000 to replace the existing replica, which was built in 1962.

Councillor Curley said: "There are a number of options being considere and there will be full consultation with the people of Port Glasgow and wider Inverclyde as these are developed.

"I personally wish to see a solution that is sustainable and tells the story of the Comet and the small town on the Clyde that built it."

He added that both he and fellow town councillor Jim MacLeod are also advocating a 'Comet Heritage Centre' as a longer term aspiration.

Cllr McKenzie said: "There has at this stage been no budget put on this, but we shall seek to bring a quality end result that hopefully will be considered money well spent."

The current Comet underwent a £180,000 refurbishment at Ferguson's shipyard around a decade ago but a plan to protect her from the elements with a £165,000 canopy was scrapped.

Inverclyde Council has confirmed that a 'glass reinforced plastic (GRP) replica' is 'viable'.

Councillor Curley said: "What has happened with the Comet replica is a wakeup call for councillors and the population of Port Glasgow, but I think we can make this the catalyst to raise our game and create something that will record and honour this part of the heritage of Port Glasgow."