Letters to the editor

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Tarbert a focal point

Sir,

It is with considerable disappointment we learn of the proposal to close the Tarbert tourist information office within the next two years.

As a local business, we supported the initial Mid Argyll Kintyre and Islay Tourist Board when it was set up. Over the years since then, we believe the tourist office and its welcoming staff have contributed to an increase in tourism in this area.

Tarbert is the focal point for tourists en route via ferries to or from Islay, Jura, Cowal and Arran and onward into Kintyre. Tarbert is also a destination in its own right, with its ancient castle, Robert the Bruce connections and its safe and attractive harbour. Whilst still a base for an active fishing fleet, Tarbert harbour now boasts one of the larger marinas on the Scottish west coast.

Tarbert is the setting for several yachting events, an annual seafood festival, a music festival, Tarbert Fair and, more recently, a book festival which involves visitors and locals.

At the same time, there are cost-saving proposals by Argyll and Bute Council to close a number of public toilets. This is not likely to encourage tourists to this area. It would also appear Oban is to become the main ‘tourist hub’ for this part of Argyll. Our impression over the years has been that Oban looks towards the outer islands and east toward Stirling and Perth or north to Inverness. As a result Mid Argyll, Kintyre and south Argyll will be the ‘poor relations’.

We believe a network of tourist information points is important to maintain a viable tourist trade. Consultation should surely have been undertaken before final decisions were made.

Ian Y Macintyre and partners, Tarbert.

Serious about peace

Sir,

I am a member of the Peace Pledge Union.

As Remembrance Sunday draws near, this group reminds readers:

‘More than 67 million people have died in wars since 1918. Today over 90 per cent of people killed in wars are civilians. Is it acceptable human lives become cheap in desperate situations, or when it is politically advantageous?’

Last year I wore a red poppy and a white one. Both poppies represent remembrance for all victims of all wars – armed forces and civilians – and of all nationalities. They are an expression of grief at the massive loss of life caused worldwide by war. White poppies began to be produced in the 1930s. At remembrance services we could remember all those who have died, but also think seriously about how we can work for peace.

If you wish, you can obtain a white poppy at the Lochgilphead Co-op on the mornings of Friday November 3 and Saturday November 4. That would show you were serious about peace.

Mary Stirling, Ardrishaig.

Pitch approach unacceptable

Sir,

I write with reference to the letter in last week’s Argyllshire Advertiser headed ‘No winners at King George V playing field’.

I note the length of time spent by Ardrishaig Community Council, with the financial support of the community trust, in negotiating with Argyll and Bute Council, only to be faced with a licence to work on the council-owned KGV field. The six-page licence commits the licensee to manage the installation, repair, maintenance and renewal of the fence – as well as providing regular inspections to the council.

Any future community initiative for improvement works on the KGV field will most likely require another licence. This approach is not appropriate to the (unincorporated) community council and unacceptable to the community trust.

The King George V field was provided around 1937 for the use and enjoyment of the people. Under council control, the Ardrishaig KVG field is today in a poor state – the field and pitch-side drains are blocked, resulting in the waterlogged grass pitch being unusable during our rainy season. It is unlikely the council will ever fund KGV field improvements.

A way forward, with the support of the sports clubs and community, may be to take ownership of the KGV field using the legislation of the Community Empowerment Act.

Edward Laughton, Ardrishaig.

Something positive

Sir,

Following the publication of my letter in last week’s edition of the Advertiser and the reply from Argyll and Bute Council concerning the new fence required at the King George V pitch in Ardrishaig, I would like to give a little more detail.

The initial agreement between the council and the sub-group of Ardrishaig Community Council was for us to apply for funding to pay for the fence, which we did, and then for the council to install the fence.

This agreement, however, was not adhered to through no fault of our own, with the users of the pitch losing out because of the delay.
All the council has to do is install a new fence with the funds we have set aside, using a contractor already on its approved list, and then add the fence to their existing liability insurance.

This would be a good example of something positive being done to improve the pitch to benefit the community.

Peter Laing, KGV sub-group member.

Affordable healthy food

Sir,

Funding has been allocated to 42 voluntary and community groups, including two in Kintyre, by Community Food and Health Scotland (CFHS), to promote and deliver healthy eating initiatives.

Food and diet play a major role in health and well-being, but not everyone can access good food. People on low incomes and those living in poorer areas have less opportunity to eat a healthy diet and are more likely to experience poor health as a result.

One reason for this is that there might not be affordable healthy food options available where they live. CFHS, part of NHS Health Scotland, aims to ensure everyone in Scotland has the opportunity, ability and confidence to access a healthy and acceptable diet for themselves, their families and their communities. This funding helps to make that happen.

The successful groups, which include South Kintyre Development Trust and Kintyre Youth Café, have been allocated between £500 and £2,000. Working in low-income communities across Scotland, they will use the funding to develop a range of practical healthy eating initiatives, including cookery courses, community gardens and community café projects.

We know health inequalities hold Scotland back. We also know the people who live, work and play in a community are best placed to develop solutions.

That is why alongside national actions to reduce health inequalities, we have funded community groups across Scotland to use the skills and knowledge of local people and work together to address barriers to accessing healthy food.  As well as developing home grown solutions, funding these local groups helps to build community cohesion and pride, because they bring people together to share ideas and learn about healthy eating.

We are delighted to be able to support such a large number of groups across the country so that together, nationally and locally, we can tackle health inequalities and improve health for everyone.

Bill Gray, lead officer, Community Food and Health (Scotland).

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