Coun­cil faces ques­tions fol­low­ing ferry chaos

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

HIGH­LAND Coun­cil needs to an­swer ques­tions fol­low­ing chaos caused by re­cent Cor­ran Ferry prob­lems and can­not keep putting off de­ci­sions on changes to the present set-up.

That was the call this week from An­drew Bax­ter, coun­cil­lor for Fort Wil­liam and Ard­na­mur­chan, fol­low­ing the re­sump­tion of the ferry ser­vice last Thurs­day.

The ferry es­caped with just mi­nor dam­age to its hull and a pro­pel­ler blade af­ter scrap­ing against rocks, but was still out of ac­tion for five days.

The near week-long sus­pen­sion cou­pled with the un­avail­abil­ity of the usual backup ves­sel Maid of Glen­coul caused travel chaos for busi­nesses, visi­tors and lo­cals.

The Cor­ran Ferry only re­turned to ser­vice af­ter a spe­cial­ist en­gi­neer flew in from Ger­many and re­paired a faulty valve.

Mr Bax­ter said it was a re­lief the ferry ser­vice was back to nor­mal and thanked the crew. But he is far from happy, telling the Lo

chaber Times: ‘There are many ques­tions the High­land Coun­cil needs to an­swer and, more im­por­tantly, ad­dress.

‘The lack of pub­lic in­for­ma­tion pro­vided was woe­ful and al­though as a coun­cil­lor I tried to pro­vide reg­u­lar up­dates, the coun­cil needs to be much bet­ter and quicker at let­ting peo­ple know what is hap­pen­ing.

‘ Whilst re­ly­ing on the spare ferry has been fine in the past, we were faced with the con­se­quences of that not be­ing avail­able, with no emer­gency plan in place.

‘That needs to change. Re­ly­ing on a spare ferry, which re­quires dif­fi­cult to source spare parts, can’t con­tinue ei­ther.

‘There needs to be a much wider de­bate about whether a fixed- cross­ing is a vi­able an­swer, whether it is af­ford­able and whether it is ap­pro­pri­ate for the penin­sula.

‘The coun­cil can’t keep putting off these de­ci­sions.

‘Lochaber coun­cil­lors will ques­tion of­fi­cers on all these is­sues at their area com­mit­tee meet­ing in Au­gust.’

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