The sole petrol filling station in Port Ellen has been closed since last December and currently shows no sign of being re-opened. This situation has forced village residents to drive the twenty-mile round trip to Bowmore in order to fill up their tanks, though it's admittedly a trip more usually combined with other business or shopping in the area. However, as one village motorist was keen to point out, it has taken a bit of time to get used to pre-planning for the following day, particularly if there was little need to drive north. "It's something of an irritation to put it mildly."
In addition, successful operation of the pontoons often depends on the boat owners being able to easily fill their jerrycans with fuel. This option has now disappeared. And health and safety regulations forbid the carrying of cans of fuel on the buses, ruling out a quick trip into Bowmore for the same purpose. If no action is taken to re-open the filling station before the summer season, this could have a seriously detrimental effect on the viability of the pontoons.
Councillor Robin Currie said: "Closure of the station at Port Ellen is very bad news for the island and for the Port Ellen area in particular. I have been in touch with South Islay Development Company to see what we can do to help, and hopefully together we can find a way forward."
This story was published with kind permission of the Ileach Newspaper