Letters to the Editor – 13.1.22

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Oban Bay clarification

I write to correct information set out in a letter, published in your  December 16 edition, from Oban Community Council about the decision of the Council’s Harbour Board for Oban Bay.

I fully appreciate the level of interest in Oban Bay and its history, from development through the growth of commerce to its royal approval by Queen Victoria as the final port in what’s been called her royal route from Glasgow via the Crinan canal.

The fact is that the long term future of Oban has to come first in the choices we make for Oban Bay. The Harbour Board’s recent decision – that the Council is its preferred option to be Harbour Authority – in brief will deliver clear and safe operation arrangements in the shortest time possible, and continue the centuries old development of the Bay as a strategic asset that supports not just Oban’s economic success but that of the wider West Highlands.

Oban Bay, once described as a place of passage and not of rest, serves island and mainland communities, and brings the key economic driver of tourism to the area. The Board took account of independent findings into the best options for Oban, and stakeholders’ priorities, to reach a decision that best serves all interests of leisure and commerce.

Managing the Bay will incorporate cost, whoever does this. We believe that the successful, safe running of the Bay is unquestionably worth investing in. Costs will be openly reported to the Board for consideration.

The council already runs 39 ports and harbours across Argyll and Bute. This experience is there to serve Oban well in delivering arrangements that work for the Bay, and its role as a key asset for the area.

We have engaged with stakeholders and have dedicated considerable time and effort, over a number of years, to working with OCHDA on its plans for a trust port. As well as leaving open a trust port as a future option, the Harbour Board’s decision progresses the interests of Oban, its growth, its tourism, its economy and the island communities that depend upon it.

Rory Colville, chairman of the Argyll and Bute Harbour Board.

Established knowledge matters

In his letter ‘Using drones to spot algae’ (Oban Times, January 6), Dennis Archer either misunderstands or chooses to misrepresent the impact fish farming has within our waters, rather than celebrate the adoption of technology by SEPA for efficiently surveying and understanding Scotland’s marine environment.

Worse, his letter goes so far as to imply that private and public parties are blind or deliberately choosing to be so; the tone and sentiment behind these statements reflective of the wider growing tendency to distrust politics and authorities, question scientific facts, and suspect those who speak with expertise to have a propensity for poor behaviour.

In response, I refer readers to the Scottish Executive Environment Group’s 2006/3 published scientific paper, which concluded that aquaculture did not cause blooms, and to Scotland’s Environment website, which provides the facts on the fully met requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive, ensuring Ganavan Bay retains its good water quality and Bathing Beach status regardless of human activities.

As for the tone, let’s all be nice. Salmon farmers are your neighbours and we are passionate carers of the fish we rear and the environment we work and live within.
Anne Anderson, head of sustainability & development, Scottish Sea Farms.