Letters – week 51

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Lochgilphead’s facelift

Sir,

Not one, but two schemes to refurbish Lochgilphead. One million pounds to be spent on a facelift for our heritage buildings, and one and a half on the front green. Not a moment too soon, one of the former which once sat on Union Street next to the fire station has been recently reduced to wasteland.

The front green plan has not yet, to my knowledge, been published. I hope that when it is revealed the primary objective is to put an end to the regular flooding of the green and the adjacent road, and the subsequent expensive ritual of raking up the seaweed and carting it off to the rubbish tip. The sight of sandbags stacked in readiness by the doorways of newly renovated buildings would rather undermine the good effects of the cosmetic work.

The problem is that the level of the front green is simply too low, lying just at the level of high spring tides. So whenever we have a strong onshore wind and low atmospheric pressure coinciding with such a tide, flooding is inevitable. Raising the level of the green by about two feet would prevent this, not an impossible task either financially or technically. The costs could be kept to a minimum by first stripping the turf and setting it aside for reuse when the backfilling phase is completed. The existing concrete seawall is functional up to a point, but it also is too low, quite ugly, and prevents access to the shore when the tide is out. An obvious solution would be to extend it with a natural stone parapet and ramps allowing pedestrian access to the beach at low tide.

I first made this proposal about 25 years ago when I worked for the council and one of my duties was to clean up the mess on the front green after storms. My suggestion was ignored, and I can’t even guess how much money has been wasted as a result. Let’s hope common sense now prevails at last.

S White, Minard

Data disruption

Sir,

I was happy to meet with officials from Ofcom in Kilmory recently to discuss the need to expand 3, 4 and 5G coverage as well as dramatically expanding super fast broadband throughout the Kintyre and Islands ward and wider Argyll.

Many statistics on rural broadband coverage are misleading as they use raw numbers of households that have access to better mobile coverage and faster broadband rather than landmass.

This means that the providers can give a decent (but not perfect) service to a few of Argyll’s largest towns and claim that the majority of households in Argyll and Bute are covered.

As so many of my constituents know all to well islands, villages, farms, crofts and individual households outside of these larger towns slip though the net and sadly continue to go without.

There is no true market solution to all of rural Argyll’s broadband and mobile phone coverage challenges, that’s why we will need to see large scale investment from the increasing central belt obsessed Scottish Government to correct this imbalance.

I will continue to relentlessly lobby for better mobile and broadband coverage for my council ward and the rest of rural Argyll.

Councillor Alastair Redman

Shopping mania

Sir,

I would like to wish your readers a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. For many this is always an exciting time, but we know it can be frantic trying to get everything ready for the big day.

I want to gently remind your readers to remember that shopworkers are people as well. They will be working really hard to make your shopping experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

A recent Usdaw survey shows that every minute of every day another shopworker is verbally abused, threatened with violence or physically attacked. Shopworkers tell us that incidents are more frequent throughout the Christmas and new year period when shops are busier, customers can be stressed and are more likely to take out their frustration on staff.

Talking to our members who work in retail, I know that verbal abuse cuts deep. Many will go home after a shift upset about an unpleasant incident that took place at work that day and worried that it will happen to them again.

That is why Usdaw, the shopworkers’ union, is running a Respect for Shopworkers campaign, asking customers to ‘Keep your Cool at Christmas’.  It’s a simple message, but remembering that shopworkers are working extra hard at this time and treating them with respect will mean that everyone can have a happier Christmas.

Paddy Lillis, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw)

Macmillan funds raised

Sir,

Macmillan Cancer Support Lochgilphead and District Fundraising Committee would like to thank everyone who donated generously to our recent raffle.

Sara May won first prize of £100 and Shona Brechin won second prize of £50. The fantastic sum of £1,475 was raised.

Many thanks to Lochgilphead Co-op for allowing us to use their foyer.

Kathleen Young, Lochgilphead