1. Question & Answer Summary
Sam's comprehensive assessment of the current status of our lifeline ferry service had proved too lengthy for reproduction in the Banner. A cost of £600 for a specially printed insert was considered but rejected. It had been published on the Arran Ferry Action Group website and it was agreed that we would publicise this online and in the Banner. It would also be sent to all supporters. Sharon suggested it be sent to prospective MSPs, asking them to explain how they would address the current problems and stating that their answers will be published on our website. Sharon agreed to draft this letter. Bob suggested communicating with the Ardrossan Councillor.
2. Ardrossan Public Consultation
In the absence of any further response to requests for updates from NAC's Director of Growth and Investment, it was understood that the proposed redevelopment was currently stalled due to technical difficulties and obstruction from Peel Ports. Nothing would now progress until after the May election. It was agreed that the secretary would write to the Arran Ferry Committee requesting an update.
Six months of essential alterations would be required prior to the Caledonian Isles being able to make regular use of the port. Gavin agreed to investigate progress, specifically the funding and appointment of contractors.
It was understood that the linkspan is now operational, so the secretary was instructed to write to CalMac seeking an assurance that this port would be used when Ardrossan could not, as agreed with Robbie Drummond previously.
5. Glen Sannox
Current 'achievable' target completion date stated as Q2 2022, pending the successful imminent shift to 7 day working and timely recruitment of 120 skilled staff, which was proving difficult during lockdown. It was understood that to date only 30 - 40 posts had been filled.
6. Mull & Iona Ferry Committee
In the light of their extensive consultations, the committee was keen to understand the apparent inconsistency in Maritime & Coastguard Agency authentication of vessels. While ship builders and owners were claiming their vessels met the necessary certification standards with little or no modification, CMAL resolutely stated they did not. Bob pointed out that CalMac had previously temporarily commissioned the Red Princess without any problems, demonstrating that MCA approval might not be the limitation.
The possibility of arranging an online AGM was considered, but thought to be potentially problematic. The treasurer would nevertheless arrange for the accounts to be audited.
Sam noted that the Small Vessel Plan was being progressed, ahead of the anticipated restructuring of the CMAL-CalMac-Transport Scotland triumvirate that may follow the current consultation.
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.