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Value for money?
So, Brodick’s new ferry terminal is finally up and running, six months late and 66 per cent over the original budget; when first revealed in 2014 we were told the cost would be £18 million, then £22.2 million in 2016 and now £30 million.
At the same time, there will be a further delay in the£48 million plus MV Glen Sannox, built for the Arran route, entering service as it has had to go back to dry dock for modifications because it was launched ‘not fit for purpose’.
We are now also told that simulations have shown that it will not be as reliable as the current incumbent on the route, this at the end of yet another winter of weather-related delays and cancellations. My experience with simulations is that they are used to see if something you want to do is feasible before you try it, not after the event.
During the above events I have not heard one mention of penalty clauses for contracts overrunning and kit not working or not being up to spec! CMAL owns both the new ferry terminal and ferry. CMAL is ‘wholly owned by the Scottish Government’, by default you and me. I challenge the transport minister, Humza Yousaf, to stand up and say with hand on heart that the public has received value for money from these contracts instead of organising ‘research’ into whether one mainland port is better suited for travel to and from Arran than another.
The outcome of Mr Yousaf’s ‘research’ seemed more like political appeasement than the provision of a reliable ferry service for Arran. Ironic then that rumours abound that the ferries will be using Troon during Ardrossan’s makeover. If correct, will the A to Bers abstain from using ferries plying in and out of Troon?
P W Yates
Recently the Daily Mail ran a campaign against companies who either imposed rip off delivery charges or refused to deliver to parts of Scotland or the off shore islands.
As the victim of one national electrical retailer, who at one time was prepared to take several hundred pounds off me and yet within a few months refused to deliver at all, their advice being if I wanted anything I should come and fetch it, I fully supported the campaign.
Having read the Daily Mail for many years and being a member of their rewards club last week, on attempting to order a small item from their Mail Shop, I was faced with the message: ‘Please use another address’.
Failing to get a response to my on line complaint within the promised two days I phoned their customer service department to be told: ‘We are very busy. We do not deliver to addresses off the mainland.’
Double standards indeed. I did write to their letters page suggesting they might put their own house in order but, not surprised to see, they did not print it.
The suggestion that CalMac might display litter notices to benefit Arran is a good idea.
It reminded me of a notice, in the form of a poem, I read at the start of a popular walk in the Drakenberg, South Africa.
‘Friend, if perhaps in a year or ten,
You may want to walk this path again,
Then fail not to remove a trace,
Of synthetic foil, cans and other waste;
Plastics that no living thing can flourish on,
Or traps which others will not want to step upon,
Else in times which are soon to come,
Instead of beauty you will find a slum,
And, perhaps, then you will come to understand,
How the splendour of our land,
Was spoilt by litter from your hand.’
It had the desired effect as not one piece of litter was seen that could have spoilt the environment or endangered wildlife.
Many thanks to everyone who supported our coffee afternoon on February 24. We raised over £1000 for the Christmas Party funds. Special mention to staff at Kinloch for all their assistance.
Shiskine and Machrie Senior Citizens Committee
I have had a few enquiries about running an evening class for dog training but numbers are paramount to make it viable. We have 13 people already but would really need 20 to get it up and running.
If anyone is interested in evening dog training classes please get in touch on 600858.
I visited Arran this week for a two day break at Auchrannie. I was looking forward to exploring the island by driving round it.
Unfortunately, I was forced to curtail my trip by the deplorable state of the roads. I have experienced many examples of worn road surfaces around Scotland but never to the downright dangerous condition to that seen on Arran.
For a Scottish island that must see tourism as large source of income it is, to say the least, very sad that this issue detects from its overall appeal.