Mull BID: packed house for Tobermory meeting

The group hosting the public meeting last night [1st March] on the Mull, Iona and Ulva proposal to establish a Business Improvement District [BID’ for the entire island community, have issued the press statement below.

This group, the ‘NO Confidence’ campaign, had intended the meeting to be a shared platform, with the cases for and against the proposal presented at a single and moderated event to the audience of eligible business voters.

The BID team, invited on Monday 25th February, had made no response to the invitation but let the organisers know on the evening before, Thursday 28th February, that they would be unable to take part.

The meeting went ahead last night, to a full house and we understand from some of those present that, in the absence of any contribution from the BID proposal team, they had agreed with a supportive local businessman, Duncan Swinbanks, that he should speak personally to the meeting on his positive view of the proposal.

We are told that Mr Swinbanks spoke with an attractive energy on how he sees the MI BID but was, of course, unable to answer specific questions on the proposal.

The issued account of the meeting is as follows:

‘The meeting in the Aros Hall last night was a resounding success for the BID NO Confidence group from Mull and Iona.

‘The hall was full with over 100 attending not including speakers and recorders.

‘It was also attended by Argyll & Bute councillors Mary-Jean Devon and Alistair MacDougall who will be reporting back to the council on the conclusions and tone of the meeting.

‘There will be a full press release on the meeting in due course, which will include how the NO Confidence group intend to progress this with Argyll and Bute Council.’

The BID team told For Argyll yesterday evening that, although they were unable to make last night’s meeting, they are happy and keen to participate in a joint platform meeting on any date they can make.

With the postal ballot closing in under three weeks time, at 5.00o on 21st March, there is no time to waste to inform the electors in this most rewarding of all type of meeting.

We welcome the positivity of the BID team and look forward to hearing of an early date for such a meeting.

It is the issue here that is important, whether or not the business community on Mull feels that the BID format is a good fit for the dispersed Mull, Iona, and Ulva; or whether it is committed to the revitalising of the island economy but wishes to approach the matter in some other way.

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2 Responses to Mull BID: packed house for Tobermory meeting

  1. “The BID team, invited on Monday 25th February, had made no response to the invitation but let the organisers know on the evening before, Thursday 28th February, that they would be unable to take part.”

    Categorically untrue, typical of the misinformation from the “No” camp.

    The BID team were invited on the 25th, by email, 2 hours before the meeting was advertised to the public. They responded to the organiser on the 26th and tried to negotiate an alternative date. They were told repeatedly on the 26th & 27th that the date was not negotiable. A public announcement was then made on Thursday (28th) to correct the false impression advertised that both sides would be attending.

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    • If we have contributed to any misunderstanding on this matter, we apologise to anyone who may have been offended.
      On Thursday night we ran an emergency article publicising the fact that the meeting in Tobermory on the following night was going ahead. We did so in response to a request to help in making sure that a prospective audience, hearing that the platform had changed late in the day, might assume that there would be no meeting.
      Following that article, yesterday evening we had a telephone conversation with a member of the BID team who told us only that the event was publicised by email two hours after the BID team received the emailed invitation and before they had time to respond; that they were offended by this presumption of the premature advertising of their participation; and that some of them were unable to make the meeting date anyway.
      We were told nothing of any negotiations on alternative dates or of obstructions to such an approach; simply that the BID team were happy to take part in such a meeting on any date they could make – a position we made public in an article later last night.
      We had no reason to interrogate the caller as what we had been told seemed perfectly straightforward.
      What will, we hope, determine the outcome of this important issue for Mull is analysis and the calibre of each of two different arguments on this proposal – which should each be vigorously tested.
      Faction voting, in favour of either view, can only be less informed than it should be and against the interests of the island – and that really is the big issue.

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