Letters to the editor – 25.07.19

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Jacob’s Ladder in Oban is a mess and blighted by litter

As a regular descender and ascender of Jacob’s Ladder in Oban, I find myself also a regular letter writer on the subject of litter and damage. It is hard to be positive when I walk down the steps and see more broken glass, more bottles and cans, and other rubbish thrown over the fence and more young drinkers blocking the route and causing dismay to passers-by.

It has been suggested that this mess is caused by tourists, but I find this hard to believe.

So I was not too delighted last week to find that a considerable amount of garden rubbish has now joined the tree prunings and unwanted clothing just beyond the fence in front of the top seat. I can be fairly certain that tourists are not involved in this activity.

I feel sorry for the hardy visitors who have toiled up the steps en route to McCaig’s Tower as this will not improve their view over the town. Instead of hauling grass cuttings and prunings along the road and down the steps and then throwing them over the fence, it might be easier and better for the gardener to start a compost heap – now that really is something positive.

On another positive note, I’m pleased to see that several residents take time to clean up the steps and many other places in Oban – not a pleasant job at any time.

Of course, it shouldn’t have to be this way. We must find a way of encouraging residents to be more proud of their town. I wrote to the relevant department at Argyll and Bute Council last April pointing out the problems on Jacob’s Ladder and making some suggestions and am really disappointed to have received no acknowledgement of or reply to my letter.

I suspect that there is probably little point in continuing to write on this subject, but I live in hope that something might come of it, that somebody might come up with an idea that will help to Keep Oban Beautiful.

I see from Facebook that The Scotsman has published a list of the 10 most desirable Scottish seaside towns to live in. Sadly, Oban is not one of them.

Maurice Wilkins, Keep Oban Beautiful.

Pennyfuir cemetery is very overgrown and untidy

With reference to Stephen Jones’s letter (The Oban Times, July 4), l would disagree with his opinion that Pennyfuir is one of the best kept cemeteries in the West Highlands for if this is the case I dread to think what the other cemeteries look like.

A cemetery that was once the pride and joy of Oban is now very overgrown with long grass and weeds, and flower beds that used to be in full bloom most of the year are now non-existent.

This is a very sad state of affairs for a once pristine cemetery. Indeed, I spent this morning weeding and tidying up around my in-laws’ and parents’ grave.

Caroline Macinnes, by email.

Fines should be imposed for escapes from fish farms

Following the latest escape of 33,000 rainbow trout from the Dawnfresh farms on Loch Etive and the environmental damage it will do, it is now time that the fish farms were brought on shore. This is now a viable financial option.

Can you imagine the furore if 33,000 non-native animals escaped from an intensive land-based farm and devastated the local wildlife? It would be a national outrage. Fish escapes often go unnoticed and unreported by the farm operators, who then rely on totally ineffective recovery plans to mitigate the escapes.

In this escape, Dawnfresh has not expressed regret, let alone offered an apology for this ecological vandalism. It just repeats the usual lame excuses and offers to do better in the future. This is no longer acceptable.

If Dawnfresh insists on continuing with open net cages on Loch Etive then we believe it is time that fines are introduced for every escape. A fine of £10 for each escaped fish, with the money being donated to the local community, would focus minds and tighten procedures.

Keith Macmillan,

For the Trustees of Friends of Loch Etive.

Fort William needs sports ground developed

It is noteworthy that Fort William Shinty Club had the finance and co operation to develop and swallowed up the old football pitch by Lidl in the process.

I don’t know how Fort William Shinty Club plan to use that land, but at the same time the poor sports relation, Fort William FC, who share their ground with other Lochaber sports organisations, still have a dilapidated enclosure full of weeds and now trees growing in it.

This town has had to develop at such a rate in recent years to accommodate the tourism and outdoor activities such as bicycle, motorbike and running events that the marketing of Fort William as the Outdoor Capital of the UK attracts it makes the Fort William FC enclosure looks really out of place in its dilapidated state.

Surely some big property developer in the region benefiting from cheap land sales could put something back into the community by cooperating with the football club and find the means to renovate that community asset to let it be used by local football fans and athletic groups.

Why doesn’t the college use the enclosure as a practical assignment for students studying construction at UHI? I think it is about time the rhetoric used by many that Lochaber is a shinty area was challenged for the greater good of all sports developments in Lochaber.

I am a Kilmallie shinty club supporter when not involved with Fort William FC at community level in association. I have no axe to grind against any particular sport in the region. Many people do and as was pointed out to me once, it wasn’t the local shinty players who caused the problem.

Danny Aitken, by email.