The Oban business community is becoming increasingly exercised by the consequences of the political situation in Argyll and Bute, with the meltdown of the SNP-led administration and with the external manipulation that has fuelled it.
Two major figures in the business community of Oban have taken unprecedented action of different kinds today, alarmed by the potential impact on the economic development of this major town of the current situation and the change in administration planned to come into effect at the council next week.
The first intervention
A prominent businessman whose identity we know but cannot identify, has made an official complaint to the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, expressing the fears of the business community for detrimental impacts to Oban business resulting from the intervention in Council businesses of local MSP, Michael Russell.
The second intervention
The following letter by prominent Oban businessman Paul Sloan, a major figure in the hospitality sector in the town and amongst the business community in general, was sent late this afternoon to a wide distribution list in the media and political communities.
Subject: Oban Short Stay Marina
Dear Mr Russel,
I am led to believe a deal has been struck with Councillor Duncan MacIntyre with regards to the running of the Council.
Can you confirm for me that this deal will not impede the progress of the short stay pontoons proposed for the town centre ??
These pontoons are essential for the economy of not just Oban but the whole west coast. I amongst many others contributed financially to the birth of this project, over £70,000 of private money and in excess of £140,000 of public money has been already spent on a project, that proved without doubt an economic impact of just over 1 million pounds per year.
Having several business’s in Oban and looking at a considerable future investment into the town, this project plays a key part to decisions made in the future of all business owners of Oban.
It is imperative that while this project can be delivered and is ready to go, that we capitalize on it. Oban and the surrounding area has no other catalyst or potential spark to the economy due to its distance and geographic handicap, therefor the future of this town without the marina could have a slow and dilapidating effect on both the fabric and economy. The introduction of a new market like sailing, introduces a new revenue to Oban, a town centre marina not only changes the business landscape for business coming from yachts but also can slowly change the demographics of our tourist. Tobermory has benefited immensely from its short stay marina and has carved a niche market for itself, the logical and business minded step would be to mirror the success of theirs. I must stress, as im sure you have traveled considerably also, and I having lived in Florida for over 10 years, the demographic of tourist who visit any tourist town with marina’s, is a considerably better financial picture, than that of a town built on coaching holidays.
My apologies for rambling on but as a father, I would like to be able to offer my children the opportunity to come back from University to run the family business but you need a council with vision and leadership that will actually get these things done or otherwise I feel this town cannot hold onto just its scenery as its only attraction. With more than 80 employees in Oban, I see more and more the young ones leaving and not wanting to return, we as an older generation must take that into account and change that for the generations to come.
Thank you for your time.