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The new chairman of Arran Ferry Action Group believes this is a critical point in the development of the infrastructure of the island’s lifeline ferry service.
Sam Bourne, of Lamlash, was appointed chairman of the action group at its annual general meeting last Saturday, held online via Zoom.
Sam, who studied naval architecture and small craft engineering at Strathclyde University, takes over from retiring chairman Gavin Fulton, who will remain on the committee.
Secretary Chris Attkins was re-elected and John Ford will continue as treasurer. The other committee members are David Millar, Sharon Shenhav, Barb Taub and Sally Campbell.
Outgoing chairman Gavin, in his report, told the meeting he believed there is still a long road ahead fighting for a reliable ferry service and that it is likely to get worse before it gets better. Adding that there may now be some political will, born of embarrassment, to sort things out, he said he believes the problems are so deep-seated and inter-linked that root and branch reform is required.
He also reaffirmed Arran Ferry Action Group would continue to press for reform, including better representation for islanders, accountability of management, politicians and civil servants and consultation on decision making.
In stepping down as chairman, Gavin expressed his gratitude to the committee and wished his successor Sam ongoing success.
Sam has 22 years of experience in the performance leisure marine industry working as a technician and project manager on prestigious events including the Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup which has given him a depth of knowledge and practical solution-based experience. He has also recently qualified as a specialist non-destructive testing surveyor within the marine and industrial sectors.
The new chairman said: ‘We are at a critical point in the development of the infrastructure of our lifeline ferry service.
‘As it stands, we have a pier at Brodick that is hopelessly compromised in any more than moderate easterly winds, a long-delayed and significantly over budget new ferry still in build on the lower Clyde and a harbour redevelopment at Ardrossan that appears to be completely stuck at the start line. The absence of timely updates to the community, the apparent lack of action and acceptance of a sub-standard service needs to change. I will do my utmost, as chairman, to ensure Arran Ferry Action Group can hold our representatives to account and ensure the voice of the community is heard.’
Arran Ferry Action Group has 1,355 supporters who are lobbying for improvements to the ferry service and effective consultation in future investment decisions, with their main focus on reliability and resilience, ships and harbours fit for purpose and a reliable port of refuge.
New chairman Sam Bourne No_B53AFAG01
Arran Ferry Action Group logo NO_B53AFAG02