Letters to the editor

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Solutions to the parking crisis in the Oban area

The subject of parking in the Oban area amuses me because councillors and members of the public continue to debate this subject frequently without ever finding a solution.

If you were to put in parking at Taynuilt railway station for those travelling into Oban from the east and parking at Connel railway station serving people who live north of Oban and run a Sprinter service of possibly four carriages outwith the service trains, you could get people directly into Oban without delays.

Redevelopment of the bus area to be a park and ride to help people reach areas within the town would be logical.

For people south of Oban, a park and ride facility could be put at the auction mart to bus into the station area where they can change to the bus if needed.

Douglas Miller,

by email.

Balloon releases are littering and pose threat to wildlife

When the front page of a newspaper carries a picture of a balloon release as if it is a perfectly pleasant and harmless thing to do, it demands a response.

Biodegradable balloons take about four years to degrade by which time they will have presented an eyesore wherever they finally land and will have choked sea birds and other sea life, not to mention livestock on the land.

What about the strings attached to the balloons? Were they biodegradable? Cold comfort to the guillemot that chokes to death with it wrapped round its neck.

Balloon releases are mass littering events and have to stop. They have already been banned by Argyll and Bute Council from their land and lots of other local authorities have done the same.

These well-meaning balloon-releasing folk would not dream of discarding the same object on the street. Just because it floats first does not mean it magically stops being litter – it has to come back down.

Also bear in mind that helium is a precious and depleting resource which is needed for MRI scanners.

There are better ways to remember loved ones, and celebrate other occasions.

Marie Fox,

Mull.

Shinty cup encounter was a joy to behold

I would  like to reflect on a truly wonderful game of shinty at An Aird on Saturday July 28.

The shinty communities of Kilmallie and Newtonmore came to do battle for a place in the final of our main national knock-out competition, the Camanachd Cup, in front of a good crowd and on a perfect pitch.

Bright sunshine was coming and going, highlighting the beauty all around Fort William and the majesty of Ben Nevis. The scene was set for a great game.

What followed was the best game of shinty I have seen in a long time. The standard of play from both sides was a joy. Kilmallie clearly had the better of the first half and instead of being a goal down at half-time, they should have been two or three up. The same high standard was maintained
throughout the second half. Kilmallie deservedly equalised and took the game to extra time and the drama of penalties.

Well done to Newtonmore, who will go through to the cup final, but there were no losers on Saturday – playing like this, Kilmallie will be in the final again soon.

You may ask why I write as there was a full report in your pages last week. Well, it was in my reflections on this great match that, in the end, what really shone through most of all was the great spirit of sportsmanship and community. No quarter was asked or given. The skills remained high to
the end and crunching tackles were refereed without childish behaviour – it was men against men.

The emotions of delight and dejection at the end were tangible as both sets of players had given their all.

In the support were legends of the game, families, youngsters from various local clubs and many members of the thriving women’s game – all enjoying this occasion. Shinty was the clear winner.

Well done Kilmallie – you were a credit to your community and made many people very proud. It was a privilege to watch and be reminded of the joy of shinty, the strength of our Highland community and the beauty of the land in which we work, play and love living. Thank you.

Finlay Finlayson,

2 Farrow Drive, Corpach.

Use of fake grass is a regrettable development

I quite agree with your correspondent Maurice Wilkins, who wrote in The Oban Times (Letters, August 2).

I, too, was shocked when I saw the plastic grass in the Oban retail park and all the shrubs dug up. Given the proximity of Homebase, which sells garden supplies and plants, could the land surrounding the stores not be used to showcase its shrubs and plants? It would be good advertising for Homebase as well as enhancing the shopping experience for everyone.

Another thing to consider is that Lochavullin tends to flood in the winter months. The old system of real grass and shrubs were useful run off points for the water to drain.

There is a danger of this fake grass spreading wider. In its own way, it is becoming as bad as the invasive plant species we are trying to control. I have seen it recently applied in a few gardens. There is a validity to using it in all weather playing fields but not anywhere else.

Sarah Swain-Nisbet,

Dalintart Drive, Oban.

Parking charges will drive away visitors

I am writing in response to the letter by May Tosh (The Oban Times, August 2) regarding parking charges and ‘wild parking’.

As a regular visitor to Mull (four or five times a year) in my campervan, I would add my voice to Ms Tosh’s clarion call for more free parking.

One of the many attractions of Mull, and Tobermory in particular, is the availability of free harbour parking. It is always an unexpected joy to be able to park up for the night by ‘Tobe’ bay (I consider myself almost a local) and awake in the morning with the sound of the fishing boats leaving the harbour.

I certainly would not be such a regular visitor if myself (and I must include my wee Jack Russell, Fergus, who also loves this location) could not park up in such a perfect spot.

I believe that parking charges are being discussed with regard to Mull and, more specifically, Tobermory. I would certainly be looking at other locations at that point as Mull has very few decent campervan sites.

If the parking is to be regulated, then it would not only be Mull that suffered a loss of business but also businesses such as the large Tesco in Oban which provides valuable jobs and goods in the Argyll area I would imagine.

I understand the residents of Oban are being disturbed by the amount of seasonal parking, and I understand also that they do not blame the tourists themselves but, in the age of the internet, bad news travels fast as the Isle of Skye has recently found out.

I very much enjoy my trips to Mull, and my wee stop-off in Oban, but there are many other places to go in a campervan. Like a tortoise, I carry my home on my back, and I wonder how many of the people complaining about the parking depend on the tourist pound to pay their mortgage?

R M Dalrymple,

by email.

We need a more streamlined planning service

At the latest Mid Argyll, Kintyre and Islands (MAKI) meeting, I stated that a large number of my younger constituents have been contacting me in regards to the availability of housing.

While a greater number of affordable rental accommodation is more than welcome, a larger amount of affordable housing to purchase needs to built across Argyll.

I was also very happy at a recent meeting with my fellow Conservative councillors to discuss the huge importance of having a more streamlined planning service that helps rather than hinders our economic strength across Argyll and Bute.

An effective planning system plays an important role in supporting growth – promoting and enabling the homes, jobs and facilities that communities need, creating a more competitive local economy and minimising uncertainty and delay for those proposing or affected by development.

We in Argyll are seeing a tremendous increase in our industrial output and we as a council must not place barriers in the way of future growth in this area.

Councillor Alastair Redman,

Islay.