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Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross was in Oban this week.
The country’s top Tory was in town on Monday with Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron.
Mr Ross took in a tour of Cruachan Power Station at Lochawe before heading into town for a socially-distanced meeting with Bid4Oban chief executive Andrew Spence.
Despite Covid restrictions, Mr Ross wanted close-up information on how Oban has been coping in the crisis – business and healthwise.
At Atlantis, he met managers of the community-run leisure enterprise and found out more about the successful Lorn & Oban Healthy Options initiative that it is partnered with.
A meeting with Mr Spence covered small businesses and the difficulties the town centre has been facing since Covid struck.
‘We all hope we get to post-Covid as soon as possible, but it’s absolutely vital that we invest in local businesses who have worked so hard over the years to get themselves established and have been hit by the lack of tourists coming to this part of Scotland.
‘I want to ensure that these businesses get the support that they need and that’s through the Scottish Government. I’ve been saying for some time that these businesses need to be supported through this but also by local projects that were designed to keep businesses going through the lean, difficult months like they have faced so far and may be facing for some time to come,’ he said.
Taking a different direction and asked about the Rest and Be Thankful artery route for Argyll, Mr Ross praised work by Argyll and Bute Council and stakeholders to come up with proposals for the beleaguered road, hit by three landslides in the past year, crediting it as ‘a team effort’ to get to this end of consultation stage.
A public consultation by Transport Scotland that ends on October 30 highlighted 11 options to address the A83 issue. A final decision is set to be made in March 2021.
Earlier this week the council identified Option 1, a permanent solution within the existing 2km corridor of the A83, as the only realistic solution to prevent ongoing disruption at the Rest and Be Thankful, calling on the Scottish Government to progress it as a priority.
Mr Ross told The Oban Times: ‘It’s absolutely right what the council are saying that we need to see this realised in the next parliament because too often what we get is promises at election time and then we go through a whole parliament and nothing has actually happened, so the timing is crucial to make sure we make progress with this quickly so people can see an end in sight to this issue that has been a big concern for local people, businesses and tourists for a long time.’