Boat­ing fans furious as park shuts slip­way

Club slam clo­sure de­ci­sion

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Carla Tal­bot

A Bal­loch boat­ing club has blasted the na­tional park for clos­ing one of the only two pub­lic slip­ways on Loch Lomond.

Mem­bers of the Loch Lomond Freestyle Jet Ski Club were told mo­tor­boats will no longer be able to en­ter the wa­ter at the Mil­larochy Bay from April.

The na­tional park say the con­tro­ver­sial move is due to staffing costs and a fall­ing num­ber of mo­torised launches.

The beach, car park and toilets at Mil­larochy Bay will re­main open for pub­lic use once the slip­way is closed.

The slip­way clo­sure is the lat­est re­stric­tion on the Bal­loch beauty spot af­ter the de­ci­sion was taken to ban camp­ing on Loch Lomond last year.

The an­nounce­ment has been met with anger by lo­cal boat users, who claim this is part of a na­tional park bid to make the loch more ap­peal­ing for tourists.

Calum Stevens, who is pres­i­dent of the Loch Lomond Freestyle Jet Ski Club, told the Len­nox Her­ald: “We feel they are grad­u­ally try­ing to stop peo­ple from us­ing the loch.

“First it was the camp­ing bans and now slowly but surely they are push­ing mo­tor boats out.

“We are a le­git­i­mate club and we feel like we are be­ing pre­vented from gain­ing ac­cess to the wa­ter.

“The na­tional park have a vi­sion for how Loch Lomond should be and mo­tor boats are not part of that vi­sion. All they are in­ter­ested in is tourists.”

There is only one other pub­lic ac­cess point for mo­tor boats on Loch Lomond, which is the Duncan Mills slip­way at Loch Lomond Shores. Calum, 34, who has been boat­ing on Loch Lomond for over 20 years, says this busy slip­way can­not cope with the in­crease in traf­fic.

He said: “Loch Lomond is a very busy loch and now that there will only be one slip­way avail­able it just isn’t go­ing to work.

“In sum­mer it can’t cope with the traf­fic as it is. It is far too busy.

“Dur­ing some days in the sum­mer the Duncan Mills slip­way is closed and then we have no ac­cess to the wa­ter what­so­ever.

“There should have been some kind of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on this as it’s go­ing to have a huge ef­fect on the peo­ple who use the slip­ways.

“I don’t un­der­stand how they can just close some­thing which be­longs to the pub­lic with­out even con­sult­ing with the pub­lic first.”

A na­tional park spokes­woman said the slip­way clo­sure is an op­er­a­tional de­ci­sion so it does not re­quire any in­put from the pub­lic.

She added: “The de­ci­sion has been taken to close the slip­way for launch­ing pow­ered craft at Mi­lar­rochy Bay fol­low­ing care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion.

“The beach at Mi­lar­rochy Bay is in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies and other peo­ple, in­clud­ing swim­mers and kayak­ers, and we need to strike a bal­ance be­tween the needs of all these vis­i­tors.

“The health and safety risk of peo­ple launch­ing boats from ve­hi­cles and trail­ers with­out staff on site to su­per­vise them is too high. 040217CALUM_STEVENS_003

“Num­bers of mo­torised launches at Mi­lar­rochy have been con­sis­tently fall­ing over the last few years and the small ad­min­is­tra­tion fee for reg­is­ter­ing pow­ered craft comes nowhere near to cov­er­ing the cost of staffing the slip­way.

“Staffing for these very low num­bers is sim­ply not best use of pub­lic money.

“Letters have been sent to ev­ery­one who cur­rently has a mo­torised craft reg­is­tered to no­tify them and ex­plain this de­ci­sion ahead of the change com­ing in April.

“We will con­tinue to op­er­ate a full time launch ser­vice from the Duncan Mills Me­mo­rial Slip­way in Bal­loch. The beach, car park and toilets at Mi­lar­rochy Bay will re­main open for pub­lic use and en­joy­ment.”

Anger Calum Stevens of the Loch Lomond Freestyle Jet Ski Club

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.