Letters to the editor – 26.9.19

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Islands marketing ‘mistake’

Open letter to Argyll and Bute chief executive
Dear Cleland, I have just returned from a visit to Bute and was reminded of what a beautiful island it is. I was disappointed to hear of the council’s decision to excise Bute from its marketing campaign for the rest of Argyll.
In purely marketing terms, I would respectfully suggest to you that the omission of Bute from the strapline is a mistake. Our islands have always had an international and romantic appeal and far from being liabilities they are assets, acting as drivers for the mainland economy, not least because those travelling to our islands first have to journey through mainland areas. It is in recognition of this for instance, that Oban has long been known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’. Oban’s success over the years owes much to this astute awareness of the appeal of our islands.

The council’s response to the people of Bute who are understandably concerned about being airbrushed out of the council’s marketing strategy, is a further mistake. Unless the council is prepared to commit a very significant budget to each of its constituent parts to undertake their own separate marketing campaigns then none of them will have the ‘reach’ that is required to sustain a succesful marketing campaign.

I applaud the council’s wish to grow the population of Argyll and Bute. A succesful marketing strategy is therefore hugely important.
Bute and indeed all of our islands should have pride of place in any marketing campaign. Our islands are the jewels in the Argyll and Bute crown, and promoting and assisting our island communities is perhaps the best way in which our mainland communities can also be helped.
Mike MacKenzie, Seil.

Climate march in Glasgow

Last Friday I joined Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson and thousands of others on the climate change march in Glasgow. We were joined by millions throughout the world calling for urgent actions from Governments to protect our environment.

Here in Scotland, the SNP Government has declared a climate change emergency, but is not following these words with actions – they have postponed the ban on sending waste material to landfill until 2025. They had not made the preparations necessary to achieve the original target of 2021. We need to replace petrol and diesel cars with electric ones. These obviously require vehicle charging points, but the Scottish Government is failing to provide enough of these here in Argyll & Bute.

This week the Liberal Democrats will move an amendment in the Scottish Parliament setting a target of cutting carbon emissions in Scotland to a quarter of their present amount by 2030. I hope all MSPs will vote for this. Alan Reid, Liberal Democrat candidate, Argyll & Bute.

Children and climate change

I have never written to a newspaper or a school before, and I really wish I could write to all the parents, but hopefully you can relay my thoughts to your readers.
On Friday, OHS pupils, like many thousands around the world were, rightly in my opinion, given time off school to join in the Climate Strike to protest against the environmental destruction of the planet. Next day, some OHS pupils had great fun in the warm weather, jumping off the wee slip into the sea at Ganavan Beach. Just kids larking about and having fun. Great to see and hear (apart from the swearing)

What struck me however on Saturday evening was the mess left behind by these kids. Drinks cans, plastic bottles, ice cream tubs and takeaway boxes.

Most of this rubbish would no doubt have washed into the sea and ended up harming the environment and marine life that only the day before, the youngsters were demanding that adults do more to protect.

I know some close residents at Ganavan frequently take time to clear up after the kids through the summer, however, on this occasion, I went out myself and filled a black bag of the children’s rubbish.

Let’s not blame the kids, however, let’s train them. Can we all please try much harder to teach these children that protecting our precious environment, that they will inherit, is everyone’s responsibility?

The Oban Times; Oban High School; parents of Oban’s youth; Argyll & Bute Council; can we try to organise some sort of plan to prevent the frequent harmful littering of our gorgeous beach every warm summer’s day, largely by OHS pupils?

Name and address supplied.

Ticks and Lyme disease

I would like to add to Dr Jim Douglas’s concern about lack of understanding and/or commitment by the higher management buyers in Boots and Lloyds to supplying tick removal tools. They really have no excuse.

I write as a former Lyme Disease sufferer.Over the past four years I have had two bouts of Lyme/via the bullseye rash. The ticks in question are in my back garden, which is fenced off from deer. Each infection has been treated successfully by quick diagnosis and Doxycyline treatment at my surgery.

It is a very nasty disease and it can linger on in the system at a low level, for many years, despite the best treatment going. The pharmacy attitude to supplying tick tools may be a sign of bury the head in the sand.
Disease bearing ticks do not just live on deer and sheep. The wild geese will be crawling with ticks, as do most garden birds, mice, voles, rats…dogs and cats.

One suggestion that I would like to make is the possible introduction of a Tick Warning Sign at the entrance to all the main hills, glen and woodland walks – a simple laminated tick warning/notice with enough information to make visitors aware of the potential danger of Lyme Disease, with contact medical info and telephone numbers etc similar to the Mountain Safety Code sign.
Graham Noble, Fort William.

The axeman cometh

I noticed that a tree felling report was added recently to the planning portal of Highland Council for the former Upper Achintore school site.

The environmentally sensitive Council has authorised the felling of many of the mature deciduous trees on the development site, including one crack willow, seven silver birch, 11 goat willow, 11 alder and one ash, giving a total of 31 mature native trees.

All sanctioned by a planning ‘system’ whereby the developer is also the planning authority, which approves the scheme through ‘delegated powers’ that do not need a planning committee, and in a process where there is no power of appeal. For the hundreds of birds that roost in the mature trees and the tree lovers make the most of your last few weeks!
Jim Treasurer, Upper Achintore.