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Young voices are speaking up as part of a campaign to save Ganavan from the threat of more houses.
Mum Jo MacLean whose daughters Iona, eight, and Breagh, 10, were the driving force behind a number of video appeals on Facebook to stop any potential developers in their tracks, says the popular beachside spot is Oban’s ‘local park’ and would be a massive loss.
She says the Friends of Ganavan campaign to save it from ever being built on reminds her of the film Local Hero, where a small Scottish seaside community comes under threat of an American oil refinery wanting to take it over: ‘It’s just like the movie where the community all gets together to save their beach,’ she said, adding: ‘Sometimes it takes the voices of children to make a point and be heard. Iona and Breagh came up with the words in their videos themselves, they didn’t need any prompting!
‘Ganavan is our local park. Building more houses would be to threaten our children’s playground.’
Calls for Ganavan to stay out of the grip of developers are mounting from devotees far and wide. An appeal has gone out for people to write to councillors and parliamentary representatives – one man has already sent a letter to the First Minister.
Iona MacLean, who has celebrated birthday parties at Ganavan, said: ‘I wouldn’t like them to build more houses there. It wouldn’t feel so big anymore. I like to go there a lot to play, paddleboard and skateboard in the car park.’
Her sister Breagh added: ‘I go there after school with my friends and we have really good adventures. If there were more houses we wouldn’t have as much fun.’
The girls’ videos have inspired other friends and young people to make their own video appeals – including the four D’Arcy brothers from Oban.
Six-year-old Sorley D’Arcy likes exploring the rockpools best, while big brother Caley, who is eight, enjoys swimming and climbing on the rocks – as well as getting a snack from Dougie Dan’s van.
‘It would be bad if they built houses there. There would be no grass left and the shinty pitch would go. The new houses would mean more cars,’ he said.
Eldest brother Lachie, 10, thinks the only homes at Ganavan should be for wildlife – not for more humans.
‘I would never think people would build houses so close to the water. It should be for animals to live there, not people. More houses would spoil our Ganavan,’ he told The Oban Times.
Meanwhile youngest D’Arcy brother Murdo, who is four and wore his superhero Batman outfit in his video, said: ‘I like playing at Ganavan with my friends and my dog Norie. I like seeing the boats and building sandcastles.’
He is also worried more houses might put pirates off from coming to look for buried treasure!