Comment posted Councillors Freeman and Robb get unanimous council approval for urgent motion on Kilcreggan ferry by Councillor George Freeman.
The concerns of residents on the Rosneath Peninsula have continued to increase over the past two months at the apparent refusal of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to take their fears about the future of the Gourock – Kilcreggan ferry service seriously.
These concerns were again discussed at length at the meeting of Cove & Kilcreggan Community Council on 13 March that saw the hall packed with concerned residents. Those attending were told by me that contrary to the line that SPT and Clydelink had taken over the past two months that there would be a new-build vessel on the route as from April, it had now been admitted that there was no new vessel and that the service would be provided by the Island Princes which is approximately 16 years old.
Because of the real fears within the community that there may be no vessel with a Passenger Certificate to provide this service at the start of the new contract on 1 April, I decided to submit an urgent motion to the Council meeting on 15 March asking for Council support in seeking assurances from SPT that they have plans in place to ensure that there will be no break in service between the old contract ending and the new contract starting, even if this meant SPT agreeing to extend the current contract.
As this was an urgent motion, I was aware that I had to ensure that it was competent and that I could also persuade the Convener of the Council that the matter was urgent before the Council would consider it. Thankfully I managed to get over these two hurdles and, having explained to the Council the grave concerns of the community and the impact that any break in the service would have on those individuals who have to travel across the Clyde to get to work, college and to health services, the Council agreed unanimously to support my motion. I was able to inform the Council that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) at Greenock had confirmed to me just an hour before the Council meeting that the Island Princes did not have the appropriate Passenger Certificate that would allow it to operate on the Gourock to Kilcreggan route.
Because of the level of misinformation that we have received over the past two months on this issue, the community does not accept the statement from SPT that as it stands, they are confident that a service will run on 1 April. I am delighted at the number of people who have now come forward to campaign on behalf of the community. Locals are so frustrated by the dismissive attitude of SPT that a Facebook campaign “SAVE KILCREGGAN FERRY” has been set up by one of our dedicated campaigners which attracted almost 200 members in under 24 hours.
A protest is now planned to demonstrate the level of concern and show support for the pier staff who currently face the serious prospect of being made redundant as a result of the proposed new contract. Campaigners are confident of a good response from the community and ferry users who will meet at Kilcreggan Pier at 12pm on Saturday 24th of March.
I would encourage as many of your readers as possible to sign up to the Facebook cause / compaign PLEASE.
Councillor George Freeman also commented
- Bob, for your information, the Island Princes is not a new-build vessel as SPT and Clydelink have insisted over the past couple of months. She is now 16 years old.
Although we were told that she has a Passenger Certificate for Class IV operation for 96 passengers, it now transpires that she is only allowed to carry 74 passengers in the winter months. It has also been confirmed that all these passengers cannot be accommodated in the covered cabin. I certainly would not want to travel back and forward across the Clyde in the winter months without any shelter.
We do not know how many passengers the MCA at Greenock will approve for the Clyde which is a Class V Category C waters passenger route and is certainly not the sheltered waters of the Solent.
The Island Princess is also at least 2 knots slower than the existing vessel on the route. We are told that her sister vessel which is identical, cannot sail in a straight line but has to tack when underway. This will clearly add to the journey time.
The Island Princes is smaller that the current vessel on the route and only has a draft of 1.0 m, a beam of 5.0 m and is only 13.7 m long. MCA have confirmed that she currently does not have the relevant Passenger Certificate that would allow her to operate on the Gourock – Kilcreggan route at this time.
The new owner intends modifying the vessel prior to presenting her for certification. It is difficult to see how all this can be done prior to the contract start date on 1 April 2012.
Recent comments by Councillor George Freeman
- Argyl and Bute Councillors in trouble for non-payment of – Council Tax
For the avoidance of any doubt, and to reassure my constituents, I can confirm that I am NOT one of the councillors referred to in the Sunday Post yesterday as having had Council Tax arrears.
My Council Tax has always been payed on time and I have never been in arrears with Council Tax or any other payments to the Council. That reduces the number of councillors in Argyll & Bute to 35 that the Sunday Post could have been referring to.
- Pro-indy Sunday Herald seen utterly to concoct smear on Labour
Neil, given the report in the Sunday Herald, it would appear that, in their opinion, you are now Leader of the Council? Either that, or it is down to the poor quality of the reporting in the Sunday Herald who obviously do not check their facts before running with a story.
It is good to note how disciplined and united your Group is within the Council under your leadership.
- Council by-election result: Labour takes first seat in Argyll and Bute Council since 1999
Warmest congratulations to Neil MacIntyre for a successful campaign. I look forward to working constructively with him over the next three years.
We will now have four MacIntyres on the Council which will no doubt cause a bit more confusion. I just wonder if we will have another MacIntyre standing in the upcoming by-election in Ward 5 – Oban North and Lorn to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Louise Glen-Lee?
- Will Argyll and Bute Council change its name?
Question, on that basis, Argyll no longer exists so why are we using it and why are folk promoting it?
- Will Argyll and Bute Council change its name?
Graeme, most folk I speak to agree that at 32, there are already too many local authorities in Scotland. The number should certainly be reduced to approximately half that number. As an example, why should Ayrshire be split across three different local authority areas as it is at the moment?
The biggest problem that local authorities face is the centralisation of powers by the Scottish Government in Edinburgh. We also see it with our Police Service, Fire & Rescue Service etc, etc.
Are you suggesting that, in the unlikely event that Scotland was to vote for separation from the rest of the UK, that we would be going back to the old Burgh Council system? If so, they may have “real responsibilities and budgets” as you put it but for what? Street cleaning and litter collection with all the education, social work and roads services etc being centralised under the SNP in Ediburgh?
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