Council refutes visitor claims that Mull is neglected
A REGULAR visitor to the island of Mull says the rest of Argyll and the Highlands is streets ahead when it comes to improvements and the state of the roads in particular.
Barry Turner, a retired holidaymaker, contacted The Oban
Times to share his experience of a holiday to the area last week where he found huge differences between one area and another.
Mr Turner, who has been holidaying on Mull three times a year for the past 20 years, said: ‘It seems that you can drive around Lorn, Skye, Oban, Ardnamurchan and Morvern and make use of excellent facilities.
‘Mull, however, seems to be the victim of prolonged neglect, a malaise in its attitude to visitors and a concerted will by anybody to improve anything.
‘I don’t understand why. Is it because Mull as a visitor destination doesn’t really need to put any effort in to welcome visitors as it gets a good income from tourism without having to?
‘Perhaps funding café culture harbour side projects in Oban to the tune of £6.5 million is more important because visitors keep going to Mull no matter what the infrastructure is, so why waste council money improving anything?’
Argyll and Bute Council has refuted Mr Turner’s claims, saying his impressions could not be further from the truth.
A council spokeswoman said: ‘Over the last few years, the council has undertaken considerable investment on Mull in a wide range of projects, including an almost £ 3 million investment in the roads.
‘The council has also worked closely with Transport Scotland, CalMac and the local community to ensure the road equivalent tariff was delivered smoothly to Mull so the island could reap economic benefit from this enhancement connectivity.
‘Mull is a thriving community with a growing population. There are a range of awardwinning businesses on the island in a variety of different sectors, including engineering, construction, tourism and aquaculture. The council continues to assist the growth of these industries with our partners in Highlands and Islands Enterprise and is pressing for further investment in critical infrastructure for the island such as improved ferries, digital connectivity and affordable housing.
‘The local community is extremely proactive.
‘Tobermory Harbour Association is now in phase six of its developments which to date have included car park improvements and pontoons, as well as Europe’s first catch-- and-release aquarium. The community has also raised the money for its own swimming pool and has an active rugby club.
‘North West Mull Woodland Company and the South of Mull Development Company are both well regarded in the local community too, with all the proceeds being put back into the local area.’
On top of this, the spokesman said: ‘Mull has a highly active community and the council continues to work with them at a number of different levels to address local concerns and tackle potential barriers to growth, such as ferry capacity and tourism facilities.
‘Oban is the gateway to Mull and other islands. A major part of the visitor experience has been through the town of Oban, which has to compete with a number of other destinations for the visitor trade.
‘The new public realm, together with all the other facilities the town offers, including a range of first- class tourism businesses, will help attract people to Oban and in turn to our island communities.
‘Both Oban and Mull experience huge numbers of visitors annually who have a wonderful experience and talk highly about the tourism and business opportunities that exist in these locations in Argyll and Bute.’