Coun­cil re­futes visi­tor claims that Mull is ne­glected

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

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.’

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