Arran Banner Letters – week 07, 2021

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Common sense and hard evidence

Sir,

The present survey on the temporary use of Troon misses the point? The real and pressing question surely is whether the Ardrossan redevelopment should in fact go ahead, and whether more thought about our mainland port is required.


The minister responsible, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, and now the Arran Ferry Committee, have stated categorically that the redevelopment will improve Ardrossan’s reliability, and weather resilience. But yet, neither have provided one shred of evidence to substantiate such a claim.

Ardrossan harbour will always be tight and with no measures to mitigate swell, how can that view be credible. Will for instance, the ferry be able to berth overnight there in poor weather or will the misery of cancelled 7am ferries continue? Are we again looking down the barrel of another Brodick disaster with well recognised and significantly worse weather resilience, despite many millions being spent?

The people of Arran deserve better information, and a good and simple place to start would be for the current route skippers to be asked publicly to state whether the Ardrossan redevelopment will allow them to sail more often and berth safely in adverse weather. We already know the answer for Brodick!

These are difficult times, and it is essential that every single penny of public money is spent wisely, with transparent due diligence. It is not the time for political dogma and face saving, but instead a time to let common sense and hard evidence prevail.


Yours,

Robert Cumming, John Ford, David Henderson, Richard Wright, Archie Cumming, Alan Mitchell, Lochranza

 

Exemplary health care

Sir,

I was horrified when I read – I believe from the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald – Arran residents were being treated like second class citizens when it comes to healthcare. On reading further I discovered that they were talking about the ferry fiasco.

However, this headline certainly gave the wrong impression to some. My cousin from England sent me a message wanting to know why we did not leave, especially as we had the fastest growing Covid situation in Scotland.

The lack of differentiation between Arran and North Ayrshire leads to much confusion. Arran has little in common with the rest of Ayrshire. We pay higher insurance on our cars because of the postcode and our ‘high crime rate’. I remember when Arran was part of Argyll and later Bute and we did not have such problems.

The most important part of this note, however, is the comment about our healthcare. We have lived in more than a dozen locations and never once have seen such high level of medical and health care services.

From the GPs, nurses, carers, administrators, receptionists, hospital, helicopter links, ambulance service and more, all of which I have had to use frequently, we have received nothing but the highest care, compassion and professionalism.

Every single time we have needed them, they have been there to provide the best service in the country. I was even born on the island so experience goes back a long way.

The roll out of the vaccine was exemplary. I am sure the majority of Arran people will agree with me. Our community has pulled together magnificently throughout this strange time – shops, delivery services, volunteers and friends.

We thank them all from the bottom of our hearts.

Yours,

Mairi S Christie.

Kildonan

 

Port decision vital for foot passengers

Sir,

The decision about the port is of vital importance to foot passengers. I speak as a foot passenger. Troon is completely unacceptable, as it is a long way from a public transport system.

At the very minimum there must be a normal timetable to Ardrossan for foot passengers. A car ferry can go where it likes.

Normally the largest number of people on the ferry are foot passengers. We need to make sure that foot passengers can still have a ferry to Ardrossan, because it is part of the existing excellent public transport system.

The station is only a few metres from the boat and a local bus service is only 0.5 kilometres away in the centre of Ardrossan.

Yours,

Carl Bush

Lamlash

 

Ferry terminal closures

Sir,

I was dismayed to read about the restricted opening times for the ferry terminal and am fascinated to know what the non-essential uses are that have caused such a problem that could not be managed in another way.

I was always of the understanding that the terminal doubled as a waiting area for the bus as well as the toilets being for public use.

Anyone coming from Shiskine or Blackwaterfoot to Brodick to shop would find themselves having to wait at least an hour for the return journey as it is impossible to shop in time to catch the same bus on return (turn around time about 15/20 minutes).

Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t matter too much as one could always go for a bit of lunch or have a coffee.

Now it means anyone who has to use the bus would have to hang about outside freezing to death and as most bus users are probably elderly this is not good at all. In the same way as the person waiting for a bus may need the toilet – I would say that neither of these uses was non-essential.

CalMac needs to give the reasons for its decision and tell us what the non-essential uses are and why they could not be managed in a better way.

There doesn’t seem to be this problem at Oban, Kennacraig, Wemyss Bay, Craignure etc as a quick scroll through CalMac’s website will show.

Yours,

Marilyn Woods

Shiskine