Argyll is staycation ready

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The majority of Argyll’s staycation facilities are ‘set up and operational,’ although hampered by staff shortages, according to an update from Argyll and Bute Council.

Council chiefs are also in the process of recruiting four wardens to ensure responsible staycationning during the tourist season, Argyll & Bute’s executive director Kirsty Flanagan is due to tell members of the environment, development and infrastructure committee at its meeting today June 2.

A staycation officer has also started work with the council and is managing a variety of initiatives to ensure safe and positive use of the area by tourists.

The officer will be in post until the end of March 2023, while the new warden posts will be seasonal until October 2022.

The wardens are being recruited to cover the whole council area including its 120 car parks and a number of other sites affected by litter.

The staycation project officer will manage a variety of projects, engaging with communities, partners and businesses on littering, signage, provision of toilets, parking for motorhomes, and waste disposal development funding applications.

‘All public toilets are open. In 2021 stickers were designed and rolled out for all public toilets offering a link to the waste water disposal facilities map on our website to prevent irresponsible disposal in public toilets which are still in use.

‘Through funding from the staycation budget, 11 temporary toilets have again been deployed by contractor at five locations – Westport, Bridge of Orchy, Glen Orchy, Kilchurn Castle and Victoria Bridge. This includes maintenance checks on a daily basis,’ says Ms Flanagan’s report.

In it, she adds: ‘It is worth pointing out that whilst there were literally thousands of campervans and campers across Argyll and Bute in 2021, the vast majority of these were responsible and respectful to our environment and communities.

‘This was no doubt as a result of the communication and physical interventions put in place in 2021 and the fact that the vast majority of tourist facilities are now fully operational albeit hampered by staff shortages.’

All potential waste water sites for use by non-residents have been contacted with a mixed response, but communication continues with others around possibilities, says the report.

There is no specific mention of Oban or its trouble-spot, Ganavan, in the report that outlines action being taken forward or staycation expenditure 2021/22, but a council spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to supporting our tourism sector, local economy and communities, and want everyone travelling around Argyll and Bute to have a great time and be a great visitor. Our new wardens will help to raise awareness of responsible camping and tackle littering across 120 car parks and other key locations including Ganavan.’

Funding worth £23,040 has been committed though for 12 weeks extra policing to support responsible staycationning.

The council’s spend on getting staycation ready to date is £242,512 and funds committed are £183,540, making a total of £426,052. This leaves £173,948 still left in the budget for other interventions as and when identified.

You can see a map of waste water disposal sites on the council’s Have A Great Time. Be A Great Visitor website at argyll-bute.gov.uk