Spirited defence of Mull following scathing attack
A COMMUNITY activist on Mull has hit back at criticism of the island.
Oban Times reader Barry Turner launched a scathing attack on the island, its infrastructure and people in a searing letter to the editor (July 14).
But Steve Willis, secretary of Mull Community Council, has hit back.
Mr Willis said: ‘I will begin by correcting the inaccuracies in Mr Turner’s letter so that I am better placed to answer other points he makes.
‘As regards the road surfaces on Mull, these recently received the services of a machine known as a ‘Jetpatcher’, which was here for a number of weeks, correcting potholes and other minor issues, leaving our roads in the best condition they have been in many years. This fact was commented on at June’s community council meeting where it was agreed that I write to the roads department to thank them for a job well done.
‘The comment that “there is no visitor centre on Mull” beggars belief as the very first building any visitor would see on arriving at Craignure is a visitor centre.
‘It is well-stocked with every conceivable necessity such as maps and guide books and staffed by the most friendly and helpful staff. As regards public toilets, there are several which he has chosen to exclude from his list. He omits those at Aros Hall in Tobermory, Ulva Ferry and Fionnphort. Those in Dervaig will shortly be taken over by the North West Mull Woodland Management Company and those at Salen closed because of essential repairs which have now been completed (this was not down to public pressure as he implies).
‘Parking in passing places always has been and remains a road traffic offence and therefore seeing a police notice to that effect is simply to remind visitors of that fact. Perhaps the scenario whereby an emergency vehicle cannot proceed as its route is blocked by an unlawfully parked vehicle with the oncoming car not having anywhere to quickly get out of the way is not one with which he is familiar.
‘What Mr Turner fails to see is the fact that Mull is a huge island with a very low population count (2,800 or thereabouts) and he is comparing here with places such as Lismore and Raasay. Spend £500,000 on roads and infrastructure there and you would indeed have world-class facilities. Spend that on Mull and no-one would notice.
‘He mentions viewpoints and – speaking as one who sat on the committee looking into this problem – the figure we were looking at some years back was in excess of £1 million. This was to install new and refurbish existing viewpoints. Perhaps Derbyshire is fortunate and can attract this level of funding for whatever projects it sees fit. Sadly, this is not the case here.
‘Now, more than ever, largescale funding is particularly difficult, and Argyll and Bute Council cannot be expected to finance non-statutory schemes so it is not that it is “ignoring” Mull, as he puts it but simply there is not the money available.’