For Argyll has made contact with the landowner of Easdale Island, Jonathan Feigenbaum, who has told us that the current situation has never arisen before and was totally avoidable.
He has had to withdraw permission for the event to take place on his land and has made this position public.
He seems disturbed by the developments that have made this necessary and is at pains to make it clear that he has always ‘done everything possible to support all the organisations on the Island as much as possible’.
He says – and EE signifies ‘Eilean Eisdeal’, the body organising the event:
‘It is imperative as the land owner that we ensure that the correct insurance is in place for such a gathering/event, this was not produced and indeed EE refused to produce it to us.
‘Leasing the area used was offered but no sum was mentioned.
‘We were informed that the revenue to EE from the event would be in the region of £8,000, in light of the fact they are a registered charity the view that 10 – 12% of revenue was a low request,and we asked for £1000. The “market rate” for an event like this would be more like a 25% revenue fee. Not only that the nominal amount was not going to leave the Island but be used for the benefit of all the Islanders.
‘Not all the Islanders benefit from the Stone Skimming event,this way everyone would have had some benefit.
‘The commercial businesses on the Island take a large percentage of their revenue on the Stone Skimming weekend and have a direct interest in the event taking place. Therefore the total revenue from the Stone Skimming event is probably double the EE revenue, so the amount we requested is fairly nominal.’
As we reported yesterday here, back in April Mr Feigenbaum had expressed concern to the organisers of the event, Eilean Eisdeal, as to whether the public liability insurance for the event was adequate. As the owner of the land on which the event takes place, he was reasonably anxious about his own position, if it were not.
He heard nothing from Eilean Eisdeal until 6th September when its Chair wrote to his solicitors simply saying that the insurance was adequate but refusing to disclose the document to the landowner to demonstrate the reliability of the assurance.
Mr Feigenbaum then, on 16th September, had an open letter published online at Easdale People making the then situation clear to residents – that he had no alternative but to withheld permission for the event on his land.
The event is slated for 23rd September- this coming Sunday.
Since we received Mr Feigenbaum’s email yesterday evening, we understand that postering for the event is continuing.
We assume that this means that some agreement has now been reached between Eilean Eisdeal and the landowner over the public liability insurance issue and have asked Mr Feigenbaum to confirm this.
We will report on his response when we get it.
We emailed the Chair of Eilean Eisdeal at the same time a Mr Feigenbaum, simply asking for the thinking behind its refusal to let the landowner see the public liability insurance documentation for the 2012 event. We have had no response as yet.
It should be clear from our publication record, that we are supportive of, not to say enthusiastic about much of Eilean Eisdeal’s contribution to life on Easdale; and fair in what we have said about the continuing stand off between it and many of the residents since, as they say, it takes two.
We cannot but find the current stance of the organisation bewildering but hope that the situation with the landowner, as it appears to be, has very recently been resolved and that this unique and very worthwhile event can go ahead.