Balancing act

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A situation is developing on Arran, as I am sure is happening on the other islands in Scotland, of a conflict between opening the island up for tourism, once restrictions are eased, or keeping it closed to keep the local population  safe.

And at least common sense finally prevailed this week with CalMac announcing an extension to the ‘essential travel’ timetable till the middle of next month and putting a freeze on future bookings.

But that was after they were prepared to allow a free-for-all by opening up their full summer timetable from July 16 which saw a scramble for bookings, with some ferries already almost full to capacity.

Many on the island do not want to see a sudden influx of visitors as early as the summer. But for others, in the tourist trade, it is their livelihood and unless visitors return the future for them looks bleak. So clearly a delicate balancing act is going to be required.

In a bid to put the brakes on an instant reopening, ahead of a comprehensive plan, the Arran Ferry Committee this week asked CalMac to suspend bookings for now and following their decision to do so there is now, at least, a three week window to come up with a solution.

It must be time well spent for the well being of all the island residents and businesses alike.