Letters to the Editor – 6.6.19

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Independence march will be good for Oban

It’s marvellous that Argyll and Bute councillors were wise and approved the AUOB Independence March on Friday June 15. What a boost 2,000 to 4,000 folk will be for the shops, B&B, hotels, bars and restaurants of our town and beyond.

Councillors took into account Oban’s ability to be capable of hospitality and organisation for the Argyllshire Gathering , Oban Live, and the many cruise ships that disembark onto the Esplanade, and recognised that we manage marches well throughout the year, including a herd of reindeer in the dark at Christmas lights switch on!

So I was pleased our councillors agreed we can cope with this influx of happy folk. If we had rejected the event, as Councillor Redman proposed we would be the first local authority in all of Scotland to do so. That would have been embarrassing.

We encouraged you, councillors, and you rose to the occasion. Thank you for approving this event, saving any embarrassment at all.
Get your Saltires ready. Here’s to a great day in Oban!

Campbell Cameron, Convenor, Oban and Lorn SNP

We need to welcome motorhome owners

I read the headlines in the Oban Times, ‘Campervans flout rules’ and immediately, but wrongly, assumed the piece would be an admonishing outcry regarding the illegal disposal of waste or littering, but when I read the content…what a load of one-sided drivel, whining over nothing at all.

Let us not forget the ongoing dispute regarding the charging for parking at Ganavan under the terms to which the land was gifted to the council. A local campaign, which the paper highlighted very recently.

Also, our local car parks are mostly empty at night and as long as campervan owners don’t start to litter or dispose of waste, what harm does it do to allow people to park there overnight? They are still spending money in the town.

As for the two business owners, well, as a local resident, a camper owner and a person whose friends have stayed in several of the local campsites, all I can say is that when you’re in touring the very last thing you want is to be herded onto overly-expensive, overcrowded sites, with caravaners/motorhomers in a tight formation and kids squawking all around you.

You don’t want to be miles and miles from the town and local amenities you have come to enjoy. I, like some others, use my campervan for other reasons than just to relax in. Having complex post-traumatic stress disorder and a son with learning difficulties and severe epilepsy, I use our camper as a safe space, where we can stop and deal with any emergency/ situation in private, and often it takes quite a while for my son to recover. Therefor quite regularly a journey includes an overnight stay in a lay-by or car park.

We need to stop ourselves from becoming mean and unwelcoming. I would remove all parking charges and limits throughout Oban. Welcome people in.

Ian Johnstone, Connel

Council needs to clean up its act and empty street bins

Tuesday evening was so beautiful in Oban that I decided to walk down to the town with my camera. The town was crowded with visitors and many were enjoying an al fresco fish supper on the seats and picnic tables.

What made the scene a great deal less than beautiful was the fact that the nearby bins were stuffed to the gunnels with rubbish, making it impossible to put anything else in.

One family had to leave their boxes on the picnic table as all the nearby bins were full.

Oban is a tourist town – whatever anyone might say, there is absolutely NO excuse for overflowing bins, especially on a busy, sunny evening. We hear about street sweepers off sick, bin lorries out of action, no money for overtime, but it’s not good enough! Many residents volunteer their valuable time to pick up rubbish – if they didn’t, the town would be in a far worse state.

The council should be glad of the unpaid help and make an extra effort too. People can’t be blamed for dropping rubbish if there’s nowhere to put it. This is a serious issue that must be dealt with.

Maurice Wilkins, Keep Oban Beautiful

Euro election results

For the past two years, since he was elected to Argyll and Bute Council by the skin of his teeth, Councillor Alastair Redman has bombarded local newspapers with a stream of drivel attacking the Scottish Government.

In his latest diatribe, he alleges ‘the SNP has completely misjudged the mood of voters up and down the country’.

I know it will be extremely painful for him, but if he can bring himself to review last week’s European Election results in Scotland, he’ll see the complete fallacy of this statement, and if he wants to look even closer to home, he’ll see that the SNP polled 11,360 votes in Argyll and Bute – 7,375 votes ahead of the Tories who came a distant fourth.

Hardly a sign of his mythical assertion that Ruth Davidson is poised to be the next First Minister of Scotland.

Robert Macintyre, Rothesay.

Holyrood slackness undermines confidence

Once again we have seen the Cal Mac fleet stretched beyond its measure.
As soon as the Clansman blows an engine the game’s a bogey with the Isle of Mull, ill equipped for the weather outside of the relative calm of the Sound of Mull, struggling and largely failing to maintain the flow in the services between Oban and Mull and Oban and Coll/Tiree/Barra/Colonsay.

The result, however, is not just a load of miffed tourists stalled in their journeys, temporarily cancelled holidays and tradesmen stranded or not making it to or back from the job that week. No, the real cost is the permanent undermining of any confidence in the island/mainland connections with queues of cars and vans all wishing they were closer to the front in this first-come-first-served madness.

It is the continued sabotaging of the islands as a holiday/work/life destination that makes potential visitors/tradesmen vow ‘Never again’. It converts a great potential into a lost cause and it is no fault of the islanders, though have no doubt tourists will be saying ‘typical West Coast’.

CalMac are really not to blame for this either; this problem has the dead hand of politics written all over it.

It is (currently) Nicola Sturgeon and her government, over on the East Coast, who are in the frame for culpability.

If CalMac are guilty of anything it is that they have not made enough public fuss about the fact that their fleet is short one ship with the size and capability of the Clansman.

Nicola Sturgeon is failing to make good the deficiency. If this is how an independent Scotland is going to be managed then it certainly doesn’t seem anything to look forward to.

Peter Isaacson, Uig, Isle of Coll