Letters to the editor week 06

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Disappointed at Oban Phoenix Cinema AGM


As an occasional user of social media and avid reader of The Oban Times, having attended the AGM of the Oban Phoenix Cinema group on January  22, which I did gladly on the night, and read your subsequent report, I felt I should voice my observations.

Prior to attending I sent a request asking if there was an agenda. There was not but I was told that questions and answers could be exchanged with board members on the night. This was not properly facilitated and, bearing in mind that the agenda and statement of accounts were only available on the night, proper questions were difficult to generate.

I appreciate that some of the board members were unable to attend, and I wish them well. There was an abundance of information provided by those in attendance but I do feel much could have been gained through a healthy, well-chaired, open question and answer session.

I left disappointed.

Kenny McLennan,

by email.

Grateful for treatment after fall


On Monday January 22, after my wife and I had enjoyed a lunch in the Food from Argyll café, I had a fall.

The young man serving in the café came to my immediate aid before the ambulance arrived and I received further attention on the way to A&E in the Lorn and Islands Hospital, where I had several tests.

I’d like to place on public record my grateful thanks for the attention and treatment I received from all those people: the young man in the café, the ambulance personnel and the staff in A&E.

Without highlighting anyone in particular, it is nice to be able to report, at a time when the NHS and A&E departments in hospitals are held up as being unable to cope, just how well I was treated there.

Fred Pole,

by email.

Support for Ulva buy-out was democratic


In your letters page (The Oban Times, January 25) on the subject of the Ulva buy-out, Iain Thornber refers to ‘Mull’s democratically elected community council’. While I accept the validity of the community council’s role and admire the public service of its members, in fact, as its seats were not contested in 2015, there was no election. The Ulva community buy-out ballot provided a more democratic result than the Mull Community Council’s decision to reject it.

N Somerville,

Isle of Mull.

Salmon farms are unhealthy for fish


Michael C Smith suggested that fish farm sea lice are responsible for the destruction of our native wild salmon stock (Letters, The Oban Times, January 18).

There are other negative consequences of intensive fish farming that also need to be addressed.

These are:

1. The sheer number of them. The visual impact of sea farm cages cluttering up so many of our most beautiful remote bays and lochs, making these places no-go areas for us and many other creatures.

2. The ethics of caging these wild creatures in the first place. Salmon are top predators. Can we put thousands of them in a crowded cage and expect them to be healthy and well? It is cruel to say the least. The stress alone is enough to make them diseased. The food they are fed is very different to what they would naturally eat in the wild.

3. The product produced at the end of the day may not be fit to eat. Ethoxyquin remains in the flesh of the salmon and we eat it too. The drugs azamethiphos, cypermethrin, deltamethrin and emamectin benzoate are used regularly on the salmon to kill sea lice. These are fast-acting neurotoxins and are toxic to mammals, birds, fish, other sea creatures and humans.

4. The negative long-term effect of salmon farms on our sea, shore and everything that lives in, on or near them has not been properly assessed. We don’t know for how long the ground below fish farms remains void of life, toxic and harmful to the environment and us.

Who is accountable? The companies that cause the harm, the environmental agencies that allow it to go on, or we as consumers for hiding our heads in the sand on this very emotive subject?

Eva Tombs,

Isle of Lismore.

Road is scarier than theme-park rides


Having read Rob MaCallum’s letter in The Oban Times (‘Argyll roads have never been so bad’), I would respectfully suggest he avoids travelling between Fort William and Spean Bridge.

If he does drive that route, I can almost guarantee it will frighten him more than any of the latest hi-tech rides you find at a theme park.

Just how Transport Scotland and its agent, BEAR Scotland, can carry on replacing road surfaces without investigating the failures of some of the not so old surfacing work seems a total waste of money.

Is it narrow carriageways or lack of foundations that is the reason for the diabolical state of our only major connection between Fort William and Inverness? And is it really all about the harsh winter weather?

In the mountainous areas of France, a much bigger country than Scotland, it has the kind of severe winters we experience, but their road surfaces are far superior when compared with the A82.

If the specifications are right and the workmanship is acceptable, then will the government make the urgent decision and start spending our money wisely instead of seeing year after year resurfacing over poor infrastructure?

Alan Robinson,

by email.

Numerous complaints about state of roads


I attended the latest Argyll and Bute Council administration meeting with my fellow Conservative councillors.

I had the opportunity to discuss with our administration members the recent unacceptable lengthy disruptions to our internet service. I also made my views clear on the importance of keeping our public toilets on Islay open – all the more so if we are to keep and encourage growth in our important tourist industry.

I have raised the numerous and justifiable complaints about our local roads that I have been receiving. With our roads getting worse, a suitable long-term solution is needed and that means large-scale investment instead of piecemeal patchwork.

Councillor Alastair Redman,


Councillors are here to serve the public


On February 22, the Argyll and Bute Council administration, which consists of Liberals, Conservatives and some Independent councillors, will reveal its budget for 2018-19. It has already considered 32 proposed savings, some of which appear sensible while others look (and are) ridiculous, and if carried out would be extremely damaging to the local population.

It is now evident that the Scottish Government will hand the council the best financial settlement it has had in years, perhaps the best ever.

As a result, the council should immediately announce the cancellation of three wrong-headed proposals, namely: 1. to close 36 of the 57 public toilets – a crazy suggestion that would do irreparable damage to our tourist industry; 2. the suggestion to remove janitors, who provide a vital security role in our schools; and 3. cuts to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, an excellent organisation which saves the council approximately £3 million per year, and whose support should be increased.

The council administration should recognise the needs of the local community when finalising the budget, and remember that they are here to serve the people of Argyll and Bute.

Robert Macintyre,

Serpentine Road, Rothesay.

Forestry is not to blame for state of roads


I was alarmed to read Ian Reid’s letter in The Oban Times (‘Public pay the price for forestry operations’) suggesting that the damage to the roads in recent months is due to increased timber haulage.

This is a completely false conclusion and, sadly, one which rears its ugly head from time to time in various communities throughout Argyll, Lochaber and other rural areas.

The B8001 between Kennacraig and Claonaig has not been used for timber
haulage in recent months and large sections of the tarmac have broken up in the month since Christmas.

The recent very wet weather (rainfall is now 25-30 per cent higher than in the 1970s), frost and thaw, increased bus frequencies and size, increased HGV size generally, heavy cranes (up to 80 tonnes) and wind turbine transport vehicles are all contributory factors to the present state of much of our roads network – as is the lack of maintenance of roadside drains and blocked-of lets which result in water sitting on the road instead of running off.

Over the past 20 years many thousands, if not, millions of lorry miles have been removed from public roads through the Scottish Timber Transport Scheme which provides funding for coastal shipping, in forest link roads and support to local councils to upgrade minor roads for timber and other heavy traffic.

For Mr Reid to suggest we leave the trees on the hillside is a sad reflection of the dedication of those who planted and maintained our forests as a renewable, sustainable and endless resource of great value to everyone in the UK – where we still import 75 per cent of our timber products. How much longer can other countries give away so much wood?

J Robin Dixon,


What research was done by professor?


I was intrigued to read that Professor Emeritus Ian Reid has been able to establish that the current road damage between here and Fort William has been caused by timber haulage vehicles. He must have done a tremendous amount of research in order to be able to state this as fact.

I think it would be wonderful if he could share the results and methodology of this research with your readership.

Iain Moody,

Meadow Road, Dunbeg.