Prospective councillors told to get up to speed with harbour issues

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Would-be councillors standing in the next elections need to get up to speed with future plans for Oban’s harbour.

That’s the message from Oban Community Harbour Development Association (OCHDA)

The next few months will be critical for the future of the town’s harbour as well as the communities and businesses that rely on it and use it, says OCHDA.

Argyll and Bute Council has set itself a target of having a new harbour authority, covering the wider waters of Oban Bay, ready for the start of  next year’s sailing season.

OCHDA warns it is only 12 months ahead and there is a ‘huge amount’ of work to be completed if this is to happen.

The group says the next few weeks will see campaigning by would-be councillors to join Argyll and Bute Council and it is essential that the significance of the future of Oban Harbour is fully recognised by the candidates as the election approaches.

Once the new council is formed, elected representatives will have to make sure
progress in developing the the new harbour authority is ‘given the necessary
attention and resources,’ say OCHDA members.

OCHDA is concerned that, with the many challenges that face Argyll and Bute Council including pressures on budgets and increasing demands for services, it may be difficult to keep the focus on the essential development new harbour authority.

‘For members elected to represent Oban, Lorn and the Islands (OLI), the future of Oban Harbour is particularly crucial,’ says OCHDA.

‘With the increasing number of vessels using the bay, for business and for pleasure, the risk of an accident is inevitably increasing.

‘At the same time the future development of the harbour will impact on all local businesses and must be planned and delivered in consultation with all the stakeholders in Oban and in the surrounding area and the islands.

‘Current councillors who represent OLI and along with Oban Community Council have helped to make sure that the long-standing issues of management of Oban Bay are to be addressed promptly.

‘New members elected to represent the area will make their own minds up about
the best actions to support Oban, Lorn and the Isles and it is vital that they quickly get up to speed over these developments and are able to support officers in bringing forward their proposals without any delay,’ said a statement from OCHDA.

And OCHDA chairman Ross Wilson added: ‘Over the last three years the Oban Community Harbour Development Association has been working with council officers and elected members, and with the Oban Community Council to bring a strong focus on the establishment of the new harbour authority.

‘As we prepare for the local council election on May 5 OCHDA urges all those with an interest in Oban Harbour to talk to local candidates and make their voices heard.
It’s  your harbour: have your say!’