Arran Banner letters – week 49

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Effluent concern

Sir,

I am concerned to learn that the Arran distillery is intending to add to the relentless pollution that the marine environment is already having to absorb; by discharging distillery and trade effluent in to the water next to Lennymor. This is an unspoilt area designated as a National Scenic Area, (NSA).

The impact of plastic on marine life worldwide is already causing great concern and has become a topical choice of conversation, probably partly due to Sir David Attenborough alerting the public to this environmental emergency after the filming of the incredible Blue Planet 2 series.

SEPA ( Scottish Environment Protection Agency) reassuringly states in it’s new strategy that: ‘The people of Scotland will benefit from more powerful protection of our nation’s beautiful natural environment.’ Hopefully the Scottish government will take into consideration SEPA’s statement and rethink this proposal.

Yours,

Carol Vella- Boyle

Lamlash

Signalong success

Sir,

We enjoyed a super Singalong at the Mary’s Meals festive fundraiser. I am delighted to report that we raised  £1,089.82 on the day which will be matched under the ‘Double The Love’ initiative.

With knitting orders and donations in advance our Knit & Natter fundraising total is a fantastic £1,352.92! Huge thanks to everyone involved in any way to make the afternoon such a happy success. Special mentions to  Brodick Co-op for their kind donation of mince pies and refreshments, Graeme McKinnon for playing the piano, singers Betty and George McCormack, Iain Auld and Jean Bowden, all our wonderful knitters who produced such lovely festive mindings, Lamlash Church for use of the hall and to all those who came out on a cold wet afternoon to support us.

I’m bowled over by all the acts of loving kindness and generosity of our Arran community!

Yours,

Alison Page

Mary’s Meals Ambassador

Isle of Arran

Church thanks

Sir,

As chairman of Arran Churches Together I wish to register our appreciation of how, over the years, your paper has printed week by week notification of times of worship in all our island churches free of charge.

Please accept our sincere thanks,

Yours,

Rev Ben van Rensburg

ACT chairman

Toilet dignity

Sir,

Last week was a big week for toilet news. The Mayor of London announced plans for more public toilets across the city, saying: ‘Toilets are a vital public service.’ He added: ‘We need a range of toilets … giving people the confidence to move around London with dignity.’

In China, the President, continuing his 2015 ‘toilet revolution’, announced a widening of the programme to build better facilities at tourist sites, saying ‘The toilet issue is no small thing – it’s an important part of building civilised cities and countryside.’

Closer to home, we learnt that Lamlash Improvements group have had to take over the toilets there, because our own local government, while it knows the price of everything, doesn’t seem to place the same value on public service, civilisation and dignity.

Yours,

Geoffrey Botterill

Brodick

Balmoral aid

Sir,

As you may know, MV Balmoral is the last seagoing passenger ship of her type and is a regular visitor in summer to the ports and piers around the UK.

As with any older vessel, she takes a great deal of money to maintain and operate and the charity that owns her has been forced to issue an appeal for funds to keep our 68 year old lady in operation.

The ship is maintained in Bristol by volunteers, and owned by a charity but is well known and much loved by her many followers all round the UK – over two million people have sailed on her since 1949 when she was launched, she has been a Royal Yacht and was National Historic Ships ‘flagship’ in 2016.

She is called ‘the small ship with the big heart’ and famous for her friendly crew and happy on board atmosphere. We have a difficult task ahead with alterations resulting from changes to legislation and general maintenance to do, after a particularly poor summer season with low revenue and atrocious weather.

More information, news and updates and a donation page is available at www.heritagesteamers.co.uk/balmoral/ Any help to preserve this historic ship, that would allow future generations to continue to enjoy its unique heritage, would be greatly appreciated.

Yours,

Ross Floyd

Trustee – MV Balmoral Fund Ltd

Motorhome tax

Sir,

Until a few years ago, we would take our mobile home across to Europe and after a brief lunch-time stop by one of the many Dutch rivers we would head for the Rhine in Germany. There, we knew we could park at a Gasthof (inn) or at one of the many Parplatz’s scattered around the country.

For the price of an evening meal we had use of the Gasthof’s toilets and showers; sometimes even an electric hook-up. Parkplatz’s provided a fresh water tap, a sump for emptying the toilet tank and often, electric hook-ups too. The charge is five Euros, a return to the local community.

We were always made welcome, wherever we went: they haven’t tried to ban motorhomes in these countries recognising they brought custom and trade. There were no, No after No notices that glare at you in Argyll and Bute. For a modest outlay, villages and towns provided a hard-standing area for a modest number of vans, sometimes in an existing car park or by a swimming pool, where they could stay the night, explore, eat out and shop. It was a win-win for everyone; even for gasthofs.

There was a VisitScotland campaign some years ago to encourage more tourism and clearly the RET has boosted numbers, albeit with unexpected side effects, but unlike the magnificent port terminal on Arran, there has been no investment to meet the expected surge in numbers. On Arran in particularly, the roads are narrow, often broken-edged and dangerous; there are few stopping or passing places: no new ones have been built.

And perhaps your letter writer John Wilson should recognise that even for some overseas visitors, staying in hotels isn’t affordable. Only this last week we met a young Italian couple on the Islay ferry: they were only going over for the day they said, because they couldn’t afford to stay there. There is clearly a gap in the hospitality sector, an opportunity missed here to offer lower-end accommodation such as Glamps or wooden tents – sadly now that youth hostels close in the winter.

We shouldn’t invite people here if we don’t want them or disappoint them if our infrastructure can’t cope with them – we have to deal with it, put it right! The Scottish islands may be on the outer fringes of Europe, but they deserve the same excellent facilities and roads that are seen in Scandinavia and much of northern Europe.

Yours,

David MacGregor

West Yorkshire

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