1. Ardrossan Public Consultation
There still appeared to be no progress with this project. It was agreed that the secretary would write to the new Minister for Transport requesting an update.
It was understood that work has now begun on the six-month contract to upgrade the port.
CalMac had agreed to consider use of this port of refuge following a successful berthing trial of the Caledonian Isles.
4. Glen Sannox
Following the announcement of a further four-month delay it was now thought unlikely that the vessel would enter service before 2023, although the current projection was for late 2022. Some progress was noted.
5. Political Lobbying
The committee were disappointed by the lack of any response to their invitation to the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism to visit Arran. John Lamont reported that he had only received a response from one of twelve MSPs to whom he had written. The secretary was instructed to write a follow up letter to Mairi Gougeon.
6. Mull & Iona Ferry Committee
In the light of the collapse of the MV Pentalina charter, it was agreed that Sam would draft a press release expressing our disappointment and calling for redoubled efforts to overcome the problems.
It was still not possible to schedule this, due to Covid.
8. John Lamont
John had been invited to share information he had diligently researched concerning the machinations of those responsible for ferry procurement. He provided much background to put matters into context and highlighted the problems caused by the tunnel vision of those who, perhaps for reasons of familiarity, clung to monohull designs in the face of compelling benefits of twin hulls. He called for a collaborative approach from Arran, linked to the entire west coast, to force the politicians responsible to reconsider their options with a view to making much better use of available funds. It was agreed that John and Bob would try to persuade the Arran Community Council to bring everyone on Arran together to jointly lobby the Scottish Government.
The current state of our lifeline ferry service shows it is not fit for purpose in terms of reliability, resilience and infrastructure. The Arran Ferry Action Group is a new and fully representative lobbying group, set up to represent Arran interests in demanding service improvements and accountability in future investment decisions.