Letters to the Editor – 14.1.21

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Time for change to CMAL

I would like to compliment Mull and Iona Ferry Committee on their efforts and wish them every success.

There appears that, within CMAL, there is a strongly entrenched bias against the catamaran solution. Despite having a very successful operation on their doorstep – Pentland Ferries – from which they might learn, a Freedom of Information request some months ago requesting copies of any evaluations of the vessel carried out the reply was, almost with pride, that there were none!

The CMAL website carries a Q&A with the people of Islay for suggestions concerning the next new ferry for their route. The question was asked: ‘what about a catamaran’.
The answer was ‘not operationally suitable’. This is nonsense. With a new build anything can be made suitable. I failed, under FOI, to obtain any information on the discussions, if any, leading to this extraordinary conclusion.

It would appear that the CMAL management is still firmly entrenched in the last century and that they have painted themselves into such a corner that any change would constitute a major loss of face. I suspect that nothing will change until there is a change of management at the top such that will introduce modern, fuel efficient, effective services at reasonable cost and with less weather related disruption.

The introduction, eventually, of the Glen Sannox on the Ardrossan/Brodick route will, due to her size and the unsuitable harbours, condemn the people of Arran to a further 25 years of weather related disruption. It is a fact that the cost of these works and the build cost of the new ships could have purchased sufficient ninety eight car ferries, such as Alfred, to replace all the large ferries in the fleet, two where required.
It is a disgrace that the Scottish Government continues to throw vast sums at CMAL with no apparent effective oversight. It is time for change. It is OUR money.
J Patrick Maclean, Oban.

Action needed at the Rest

The Scottish Government spin machine’s use of phrases last week like ‘encouraging progress’ about the works at the Rest and Be Thankful cannot disguise their failure to make any real progress towards a solution.

At an online briefing session last month, I questioned the Transport Minister Michael Matheson on why they say it could take at least five years before they even start work on a proper solution.

He waffled on about planning permission, environmental impact assessments and compensating landowners. This is ridiculous. I’ve attended 14 years of meetings on the A83 and all we get is fobbed off with pathetic excuses.
We need a government which will deliver results, not spend all its time plotting to get Independence while ignoring the real issues like a closed A83 which blight people’s lives.
Alan Reid, Councillor for Cowal ward

Register for May election

On Thursday May 6 the Scottish Parliament election will take place. This is an important election. Everyone should register with the Electoral Registry office in order to vote.

It does not take long. You need to give your name, address, date of birth, nationality and your National Insurance number.

You can register online at electoralcommission.org.uk/voter, or you can print out a paper form from there and post it, or you can contact the election team by phoning 01586 5553000 and ask them to send you out a form to get registered. You can register prior to turning 16.

To vote by post, you need to tell the electoral Registration Office that you want a postal vote. This can be done when you register, or later.
Tricia Grey, Lochgilphead