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Sorry George. As we all well know Councillor …

Comment posted Job losses of established staff follow SPT’s change of operator of Kilcreggan Ferry by harry cathcart.

Sorry George. As we all well know Councillor Freeman has been extremely active in all of the issues surrounding the ferry service. My comments relate to all of the others who have done little to protect either the jobs of the Pier staff (for safety reasons and protection of the infrastructure), or ensuring that essential ferry users have a safe/reliable/comfortable ferry manned by experienced crew.

harry cathcart also commented

  • The route is along the road from Gourock into the original car ferry embarkation point then past the Calmac Offices!!
  • Just heard that ferry passengers are to embark/disembark at the Gamble Steps in Gourock some 300 metres from the Seabus landing stage for 12 months from 1st April!!! It only gets worse for our users. Where are our Argyll and Bute Councillors who should be robustly protecting their constituents interests?.
  • Following our concerns outlined at the meeting with SPT on the 29th February it is to recommend to its Operations Committee on Friday 9th March to award grant of £80000 + VAT to Clydelink to pay for improvements to the vessel (What vessel you may ask!). This is a joke and highlights SPT’s complete lack of experience on maritime matters. I am sure the current operators will be taking legal advice on its ability to vary the contract.
  • Councillor Freeman, Gerald Gaffney (representing Coulport and Faslane Ferry Users) and myself had the promised face-to-face meeting yesterday with both the Chief Executive, and Deputy Chief Executive of SPT facilitated by Argyll and Bute Council following my return from Tenerife.
    My particular concern was financial in that ClydeLink with a Net Worth of £22000 as at June 2011 had undertook to have built a 60 seater ferry to be available on the 1st April and I was interested to ascertain what financial due diligence was undertaken to have proof that the funds to do so were available. To my great surprise none was done in that SPT simply rely upon the operator to deliver the service as promised or be replaced!! That approach obviously can work with bus companies but not with a ferry operator where any change can deprive a community of its essential service until a new operator can be found with suitable vessels and crew meeting the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s strict regulations.
    On the question of the possible redundancies it would appear that Clydelink saves circa £20000 per annum on pier dues by doing its own berthing. Thanks to Councillor Freeman a Risk Assessment is now to be undertaken which may save the Kilcreggan jobs.
    At the meeting Mr Aikman of Clyedlink confirmed that a ferry is in the process of being built!!
    An added problem for all ferry users (assuming there is a ferry) will be the decision of Calmac Marine Assets (the owners of the Gourock Pier) to close the Kilcreggan Ferry landing stage for 12 months with the possibility that a temporary landing will take place some 200 meters to the East. GREAT!!!!

Recent comments by harry cathcart

  • Landowners’ failure to sign off on community wind farm brings disappointment to Rosneath peninsula west
    To accuse two highly respected local farmers of leaving the Development Trust in the lurch by selling on their land once planning consent has been granted following a successful outcome at the Hearing due on the 17th September is deplorable, particularly when any fair minded person has read their Statement.

    As late as 13th May 2013 the Trust spent our money incorporating Cove Wind Farm Limited and for what purpose!! Ironically Is it not conceivable that the Trust could be contemplating selling on the asset if they are aware that 100% funding cannot be secured, hence the need for the leases to be signed ahead of the Hearing.

  • One real issue and some strange arguments against Cove Community Wind Farm
    Too much emotion so far. Reasonable questions not answered by the development trust are:-
    1 where is the finance to be found to pay for 100% of the huge cost
    2 what interest rate is included in the financial appraisal
    3 what contingency is included for increased costs which will be likely based on inflation increases which were 2.6% in 2012 (5’6% 2011), the weakness of the pound e.g. impacting on purchase price of turbines mainly built in Denmark , and likely general cost overruns in a venture of this size
    4 is it realistic to expect the development to be completed by the crucial April 1 2014 date after which revenue take will implode
    Worth mentioning that the development trust ( Murdo McDonald) has in the past wrongly taken credit for the takeover of the Cove Burgh Hall and Library as part of its campaign to reinforce its validity!
  • Revised service schedule for Kilcreggan Ferry
    The spin given by Clydelink regarding the need for the new timetable is rich when it suggests that the use of four ropes will be forced on ALL operators shortly by MCA. Who are we talking about(?) surely not Argyll Ferries and Western Ferries! The reality is that the Island Princess has been found wanting hence the safety edict from MCA.
  • Revised service schedule for Kilcreggan Ferry
    My previous post should have referred to early morning commuters requiring to reach Glasgow before 9am. Also I omitted to state that the Piermaster is serving his redundancy notice!!
  • Revised service schedule for Kilcreggan Ferry
    The “new” timetable means that all students or workers with the reasonable requirement to reach Glasgow before now need to catch the 07.12 sailing and then wait 23 minutes in Gourock station before boarding the 07.47 train. For over 30 years commuters were able to catch the 07.48 ferry and then catch the 08.08 train.

    In the evening the last train is now 17.05 which makes commuting by ferry and train impossible.

    All of this whatever the operator may aver relates to the unsuitability of the Island Princess to serve our community allied to the decision of Argyll Bute Council to make the Kilcreggan Piermaster.

    The inevitable outcome of all of this will be a lack of passengers which will in due course allow officials to declare that the route is no longer viable when the irrefutable evidence is that the SPT decision was based purely on the lowest tender rather that ensuring an outcome beneficial to the communities in Inverclyde and Argyll and Bute requiring a safe and reliable service.

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