Comment posted MSP’s views on the A83 situation by Robert Wakeham.
Ferryman – the reason I find it difficult to sympathise with your comments is that in my opinion you greatly exaggerate the negative aspect of Western Ferries’ service – which in truth is excellent, you sometimes misrepresent my opinions, and seem to me to have given little or no thought to my particular concern, which is the provision of a good quality passenger service at Gourock, with civilised access between boat and train.
We could go on arguing about this till the cows come home, but I doubt the situation at Dunoon will improve until there’s a really serious understanding of the damage to the economic and social life of the whole area by the long term neglect and running down of the passenger ferry links.
I can’t recollect you commenting on the Gourock – Kilcreggan fiasco, I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong, you repeatedly criticise me because I’m not a frequent user of the ferry – as if that disqualifies me from having an opinion – and it seems to me you’re probably driven by narrow self interest, with a strong dose of intolerance thrown in.
Robert Wakeham also commented
- You surely couldn’t impose an R.E.T. tariff without providing a subsidy, and my contention is that this would be just like the ‘subsidies’ to maintain the road system – all funded from road vehicle taxes.
- If a government can apply R.E.T. to a publicly owned ferry route then they must (not should) be able to do the same on a privately owned route. How they do it is another matter – maybe by paying WF to operate the route as a package, with an agreed audit system to ensure value for money, through buying WF’s assets and getting them to run the service, to buying them out completely (as they did with the Skye Bridge company) and putting it out to tender – if Calmac won it, then it would be an interesting exercise for everyone to see how their operating costs and efficiencies evolved in comparison with those of WF.
- Ferryman: I’ve previously suggested that ferries should all use the R.E.T., or even be free to vehicles on the basis that they’re taxed, but either you’ve forgotten or you just prefer not to know – rather like your comments on Michael Russell’s quoted views above.
- It’s not a sensible question.
- If you were to read the quote from Mike Russell again you’d see that of course he understands the problem, but that apparently the ‘longer term route survey’ hasn’t even reported yet. That’s what’s creating lack of confidence in government commitment to pushing on with a permanent answer to the problem, and the apparent dithering in choosing and progressing the creation of an emergency route is just pouring petrol on the fire.
Recent comments by Robert Wakeham
- Argyll Flyer spotted going into Ardmaleish yard on Bute this afternoon
Doesn’t the SPTE have a remit to co-ordinate public transport provision here? – maybe I’m imagining it, or maybe they’re just pretending, or maybe they’re only really interested in Strathclyde bus services and the Glasgow subway (on the basis that only a tiny proportion of voters use the Gourock ferries, and politics is all)
- 31 hour shout Tobermory Lifeboat’s longest ever, ending in joint operation with Oban lifeboat
The Oban Times reported on 6th June on the MAIB report on a similar incident last July when a small container ship rammed the Isle of Bute, and apparently legal action is ongoing.
- Refloated cargo ship MV Fri Ocean escorted to Lynn of Lorne – and on into Oban
Not being a mariner, I wonder why – in this day and age of almost universal use of radar (and GPS?) for navigation – ships don’t seem to be equipped with a proximity alarm, a bloody great klaxon fit to waken the dead, that is triggered if the boat closes with an identifiable hazard.
It would have to be capable of deactivation in harbour areas and, eg, places like the Corran Narrows – but would surely be invaluable, especially at night.
Maybe it would be seen as a dangerous threat to the need for proper watch keeping.
- Auchindrain in crisis: facing paying off its two permanent staff
Considering how all the wind farm developers are so keen (and can clearly afford) to provide substantial funding to help local community ventures, this is surely a prime example of an exceptionally good local cause with national significance.
- Baton of SAMS Deputy Director passes from Jones to Miller
With the range of expertise at SAMS would I be naive to hope that it should be possible for this country to resolve the controversies surrounding marine aquaculture – the environmental impacts of waste pollution, and of sea lice infestation and treatment?
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