In last week’s edition we called for ambition, energy and imagination in addressing the future needs of Argyll transport.
The 11 options, we are afraid to say, are lacking in these respects.
A number seem to have inbuilt obstacles, rendering them virtual non-starters. Transport Scotland already seems to be excluding a few – there’s too many big ships, the water’s too deep or submarines use this area.
Anything coming out near Inverarnan to the A82 is ridiculous.
Have Transport Scotland engineers actually visited these areas? Do they know Glen Finart?
Why involve Ayrshire, when it’s the Glasgow area and motorway network we need to reach?
And we share Brendan O’Hara’s disappointment at the absence of tunnels. Argyll’s challenging geography could be tackled by going through or under hills and lochs.
Option 11 has potential, but cost will probably preclude it.
At this rate, would anyone be surprised if we end up with a mirror image road up the other side of Glen Croe?
There is, of course, no magic money tree, but if they are serious about helping Argyll, Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government must try harder – and apply imagination and energy to the situation.
Lochgilphead and Inveraray post offices – an open letter to Brendan O’Hara,
MP for Argyll and Bute
For several months now Lochgilphead has had no post office.
We have heard nothing from the Post Office about this service being reinstated Monday to Saturday (9am to 5pm).
At present we have a few hours during the week where we can stand in a queue in the rain for the temporary post office arrangements.
I am not alone in calling for this situation to be remedied forthwith by the Post Office.
I would hope the people of Inveraray would join this campaign as they also need a Post Office in Inveraray.
Can you use all your influence as an MP to bring this about.
I also call on Mid Argyll councillors to join with our MP to get the Post Office to deal urgently with this.
We look forward to hearing from you.
John Reid, Lochgilphead.
Caring during coronavirus
It is estimated that there could now be as many as 1.1 million people in Scotland caring, unpaid, for a loved one who is older, disabled, or seriously ill during the coronavirus pandemic. We know that it has been a particularly difficult time for family carers, with the majority having to provide more care during the pandemic – on average 10 additional hours a week.
With many face-to-face day services still closed or limited because of Covid-19, some families are caring round-the-clock without a break.
It’s thanks to carers telling Carers Scotland about their personal experiences that we are able to explain to politicians and policy makers the challenges they are facing six months on from the coronavirus outbreak, as we head into winter.
By filling in our survey Caring Behind Closed Doors: six months on (see the Carers UK website) unpaid carers in Scotland can help inform the UK’s most comprehensive study into experiences of looking after a loved one during the coronavirus crisis.
With a Scottish Government plan for social care reform currently in the making, it has never been more important for unpaid carers to share their experiences.
Fill in the survey at the www.surveymonkey. co.uk/r/CJ89NCH web page.
Simon Hodgson, director, Carers Scotland
Pandemic support needed
The report ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on the Highlands and Islands’ warns that the economy of the region could decrease by as much as £2.6bn this year due to the impact of Covid-19 on businesses and jobs.
And the figures presented by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in the document also suggest that unemployment increased faster in the region than the rest of Scotland.
This report makes grim reading and should make both the Scottish and UK governments sit up and pay attention to the serious impact that Covid-19 has and is having on the highlands and islands, one of the worst hit areas in the country economically.
It’s clear that the economy of the Highlands and Islands will need a shot in the arm if we are to turn around the worrying trend of job losses and economic downturn.
If we want to see the region survive and thrive after Covid-19, we need to ensure the right support is in place to allow us to build back better and support an economy that works for everyone.
Highlands and Islands Scottish Labour MSP
The Rest and be Thankful
Last week’s front page story featured politicians united in a call for the right long-term solution to be found at the Rest and be Thankful. MP Brendan O’Hara described it as ‘an economic and public safety emergency’, adding: ‘I suspect successive governments have just been hoping the situation wouldn’t come to a head on their watch.’
There was plenty of reader reaction on the Argyllshire Advertiser Facebook page.
John Hall commented: ‘It’s only an emergency
because there’s an election due next year. It’ll be soon forgotten afterwards.’
Nic Outterside posted: ‘Successive governments is correct. When I lived in Mid Argyll 30 years ago the problems on the Rest existed. That was pre-devolution and from what I learned the problem had existed for at least 30 years prior to that.
It is surely only a matter of time when a major disaster occurs with a landslip taking out a bus full of people or an HGV.
‘My wife is visiting relatives in Campbeltown next week from our home here in Englandshire and already she has planned her journey via Gourock and Tarbert rather than even risk the Rest or military road or Crianlarich routes.’
Steve Bleasby wrote: ‘For the second time this week the Tarbert to Portavadie ferry is suspended due to “technical reasons”. The ferry MV Isle of Cumbrae was supposed to have been retired years ago, but limps on in an ageing and tired fleet.
We are heading towards a transport infrastructure breakdown in Argyll unless the government takes rapid action. Time to focus on us, not the central belt.’
Niall M Cameron posted: ‘As CalMac ferries age and break down, now is the time for better connections to Highlands and islands. We’ve seen the cost of tunnels, but building ships is just as expensive. A total overview of all transport is well overdue in this country.’
Duncan Black said: ‘You [the SNP] have had 13 years to do something and all you’ve done is waste millions on idiotic ideas and temporary measures!’
This cheering scene was photographed in Inverneil by Pamela Hamilton using her iPhone. Pamela said: ‘Two happy wee faces, grown from birdseed, getting the sun.’ She added – for readers of a certain vintage: ‘Little Weeeed and her cousin. Bill and Ben were in quarantine.’
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