Two prominent Oban businessmen take action on Argyll and Bute political situation

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.

Kind Regards,

Paul Sloan

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23 Responses to Two prominent Oban businessmen take action on Argyll and Bute political situation

  1. Of course, the last thing on Russell’s mind is the future of Oban. Votes to keep him in power are more important. Perhaps Mr Sloan need not worry after all.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 8

  2. Couldn’t agree more. We need a coherent ten year master plan for the whole council area to boost economic development and population growth.

    All the basics are there but it needs a council totally focused. Every other council function must be of secondary importance.

    There is no place for parochialism

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 8

    • Graeme we need honest governance to start with and less councillors being bought and sold. The behaviour of some councillors putting their own financial well being first and others like your Helensburgh associate James Robb trying to force colleagues out of the same party and succeeding then trying to buy others is deplorable. Get it clean first. Or is that beyond the capacity of the SNP

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  3. That long term plan was what the SNP led administration put in place under McCuish/Robb. That was subverted by Mr Russell and parochialism of the SNP Group defectors and current traitors. Mr Russell must re-consider whether his hatred of some Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors is more important than good local government in Argyll & Bute.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8

    • Traitors? Surely that was the group having wee meetings in Helensburgh without telling their colleagues or have I got that wrong?

      Ps oh and trying to discipline others over Struan as a wee diversionary tactic — pity they got found out. Now of course Robb walks leaving McCuish wondering how life got so so complicated and his harem wondering how their mortgage will get paid without their extra pennies as leads.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  4. “The Chord debacle” and the ineffective council support for local businesses facing closure will be the main factor in Independence Referendum. The swing in the Dons by-election against the SNP indicates that the Scottish electorate are disenchanted with this government’s piecemeal economic policies and those of the clueless Mike “Somersault” Russell who fiddles while Argyll and bute burns.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 6

  5. The management committee of Oban and Lorn Tourism Association wrote to the council in April expressing concern at the continuing delay in progressing the short stay transit marina in Oban bay. We also highlighted our disquiet that the CHORD money had still not been invested in the town and that this was not only holding back Oban’s development as a tourist destination but was endangering its sustainability. Paul Sloan is quite right to be concerned – we need businesses to invest in the town and they need to be assured that the council values tourism and does more than just pay lip service to our area’s most important industry. Without the political will and council focus on tourism development individual businesses are hampered. OLTA asked for a meeting with the new CHORD project manager – a date was agreed – and cancelled at the last minute by the council. The current infighting with councillors cannot go on. They should all be working together for the greater good and leave party politics out of local issues.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 34 Thumb down 3

    • You’d better tell Mike Russell that directly. His intereference seems to have started and continues to cause most of the problems.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 7

  6. Duncan MacIntyre spent years running round in circles on the CHORD Project and failed abysmally. The guy does not have a clue. At least under Roddy McCuish, progress was being made. The public dread to think what will happen if MacIntyre becomes Leader of the Council. Certainly will be Argyll & Bute for Chaos.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 6

  7. The proposed transit marina, along with every aspect of Chord / waterfront regeneration is vital to the long term success of Oban.

    There are huge efforts and a great deal of collaborative working going on to position Oban as a key port, and Argyll and the Isles in general as the Marine tourism destination for all of the west coast north of the Clyde.

    The potential for regeneration from the sea can already been seen in exciting new developments in Campbeltown, and Oban deserves no less.

    The CHORD funding is the first step in unlocking the tremendous potential of Oban, and taking advantage of a strong visitor economy.

    I look forward to all parties working together with a renewed sense of urgency, and creating a confident, vibrant and compelling Oban.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

    • Do not know much or anything about CHORD in Oban or anywhere else for that matter. The support You and Linda Battison state here seems to be a recipe for success and I have recently seen the Yachts in Tobermory and Campbeltown, and they seem to be very successful. Surely similar to marina developments I have seen in Denmark if you have somewhere yachts can berth right in town then the folks aboard can come ashore walk into shops, restaurants, bars etc. and spend the money also folk like to walk into harbour areas to admire the different boats. Seems like a winner not so sure this bunch of councillors have the appetite for making this succeed.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  8. Local business and now tourism are asking questions about Oban Chord so It would be great to hear from them about what the Councillors and Directors were telling them over the last six years.It should make for interesting reading.
    Cheers Neil.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    • Not just Lochaline – Port Ellen appears to have succeeded equally well in creating an excellent marina, and it does seem that these community-led projects have proved to be far more effective than the Chord path to project development, however well intentioned the latter might have been at the outset.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  9. The return of Macintyre leading the council will deliver a death blow to a council already riven with infighting, nepotism, corruption, and gross incompetence. What role is the Chief Executive, and Senior Legal officer playing in this.?? They need to step and kick all the incompetents out.
    Mac Intyre is only making a comeback to boost his pension.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    • Obviously that will not be the democratic will of his elected peers, if they do in fact vote him as leader on thursday.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. “”"”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.”"”"

    WHY the secrecy, who does this individual represent? If he/she represents the Oban business community why the anonymity ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

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