Shame­ful van­dals ren­dered new flood bar­rier ‘use­less’

The Oban Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Kathie Grif­fiths kgrif­[email protected]­times.co.uk

Van­dals who tam­pered with Oban’s new flood bar­rier next to the Black Lynn burn have been branded ‘shame­ful’.

A sec­tion of the in­ter­lock­ing bar­rier was re­moved leav­ing a big gap in the de­fence sys­tem and was spot­ted ly­ing in the burn near Tesco.

‘That peo­ple would de­lib­er­ately pull up a bar­rier put there for flood pro­tec­tion, and fur­ther risk the safety of homes, is shame­ful,’ said a spokesper­son for Ar­gyll and

Bute Coun­cil.

The miss­ing unit was re­ported to The Oban Times by a con­cerned reader who said the bar­rier was left ‘use­less’.

The man, who did not want to be named, said the unit had been seen in the wa­ter fur­ther down the burn.

He also said the other re­main­ing units had been ‘messed with’ and plugs meant to hold in bal­last had been pulled out and thrown away – he found one on the path nearby.

‘Good­ness knows where the oth­ers are. This bar­rier would be use­less if the waters rise. There’s a big gap in it and what’s left is too light­weight to hold any­thing back,’ he said.

Stick­ers on the units say they are to be filled with sand and wa­ter but they are all empty.

The man also said he be­lieved the units were the wrong way round and the flat side should be near­est the burn to give more re­sis­tance.

He also crit­i­cised the gap­ing height dif­fer­ence left be­tween mounds of sand­bags strate­gi­cally placed as part of the de­fence line and the bar­rier.

How­ever, the coun­cil in­sisted the bar­rier was in­stalled as it should be.

‘Al­ter­nate units in the bar­rier are filled with wa­ter, which was done. The oth­ers are left empty so that if flood wa­ter rises, it will fill the empty units. This is an on­go­ing piece of work to help sup­port res­i­dents un­til such time as the re­sults of Oban Flood Study – part of our Lo­cal Flood Risk Man­age­ment Plan – of­fers sugges­tions for more per­ma­nent ways of im­prov­ing fu­ture flood sit­u­a­tions,’ said the coun­cil spokesper­son.

Oban coun­cil­lor Jim Lynch said who­ever re­moved the bar­rier unit was ‘ir­re­spon­si­ble’.

He said: ‘It’s ir­re­spon­si­ble for some­one to re­move some­thing that was specif­i­cally put in place to pro­tect peo­ple, safe­guard­ing them and their prop­erty.

‘I will speak to the rel­e­vant coun­cil de­part­ment to get as­sur­ance that the bar­rier is fit­ted prop­erly. I’m not in a po­si­tion to com­ment whether it was set up cor­rectly in the first place or not.’

When The Oban Times checked the bar­rier on Tues­day, all of the units were found to be empty of wa­ter, in­clud­ing the ones which still had plugs in.

Af­ter con­tact­ing the coun­cil, a later state­ment said: ‘We went above and be­yond the duty of a coun­cil to in­stall this flood con­trol mea­sure. The bar­rier was checked to­day and there is wa­ter in the ap­pro­pri­ate units. The miss­ing unit was also re­placed.’

Al­though the miss­ing unit was re­placed and more sand­bags were added at ei­ther end of the bar­rier, all the units still ap­peared to be empty.

By any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion, the past year has been a huge one for Oban golfer Robert MacIntyre. Af­ter turn­ing pro­fes­sional, the young Glen­cruit­ten player made a storm­ing start to his ca­reer, earn­ing a Euro­pean Tour card in his first sea­son and play­ing with some of the world’s great, in­clud­ing Ernie Else. This week, Robert speaks ex­clu­sively to The Oban Times about his mo­men­tous year.

A gap­ing hole is left in the flood bar­rier af­ter one of the units was re­moved.

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