(Check out updates below) You probably remember the CMAL Port Ellen Business Case Summary which I published a year ago. In this business summary you'll find several options for the reconstruction of Port Ellen including sketches of possible future port layouts. Since then a lot has been written about the ferry terminal at Port Ellen and also about the fact, for now, that the new ferry will not service Port Ellen. Last week CMAL announced that there won't be a major upgrade/reconstruction of the Port Ellen pier and they also announced that the new ferry, MV Finlaggan, will service Port Askaig. Most people tend to believe that this is a terrible situation, an wee economic disaster for Port Ellen and a terrible blow for this community. But is this really the case? What do we know about all this? Is it true that Port Ellen can only surivive as a viable community when they see regular visits of the Calmac ferry? There are many people outside Port Ellen with an opinion, including myself. What I missed up till now was the opinion of someone who lives in Port Ellen and explains what ideas live among the people of this beautiful village who haven't been asked (yet) what they want. Time for a change! Gavin Campbell from Port Ellen contacted me this weekend with the intention to start a debate or at least get a local opinion across. We would really appreciate to receive more opinions and ideas from people in Port Ellen and Islay. Continue reading....
Gavin Campbell: I wanted to get the opinions of folk with regard to the Port Ellen ferry terminal debate. The way I see it is that there are so many people expressing the fact that it should have the Â£16m development, however I dont think those people have seen the plans, either that or they simply don't care much for the bays and views of port ellen because that massive eyesore that is proposed will mean that port ellen is more like a pier with a village rather than a village with a pier!! The plans are crazy and over the top, an extention to the existing linkspan, remove the pier buildings and cover that area for parking then re-site the new terminal building at the entrance to the pier and all the logistics are covered! why make such a big deal of it and make the place an eyesore?
Port Ellen and Ferry pier - link to full panorama image
I would also like to hear what financial benifit the ferry brings to Port Ellen? I have lived here all my life and watch all but local transport drive right through. The Oban route will never take over from Kenacraig as the primary route either, what would be the benifit? ....nothing, more fuel costs, longer travel time for passengers, further away from Mundells depot in tarbert (who are the main freight customer).
As it stands right now there are loads of thoughts flying around yet the local people of Port Ellen are again not being asked for any opinion on the subject! What do the local MP's think and where do they get their info from to go ahead with?? That frightens me quite frankly because they simply do not know! they just think they know from hearing bits and pieces of what is basically gossip. It was the same with the fiasco for naming the new ferry, anyone that travelled on the ferry or went online from anywhere in the world could vote on the name of the new ferry! hardly giving the people of Islay the opportunity to name the boat is it?
It seems to me that all those major decisions are made far far from the people of the communities of which the results will have the biggest affect on!
Eliott Bowman: People should be able to tell CMAL what they think they should do with the money they got of the government. I think it would be a shame not to see the M.V Finlaggan in at Port Ellen. When you think about it they say the new ship will fit in at Kennacraig after they lift up the barge but what I canâ€™t understand is that there is not much difference in size with Port Ellen and Kennacraig Piers.
It would of been nice to get the 16/17 million for the new upgrade and I wouldnâ€™t think it would of been a eyesore to the village or the bay. Port Ellen used to be a Busy harbour with the puffers and the ferry and still is a busy wee place with the Barley boat and the other cargo boats, ferries and in the summer you have got the odd cruise ship that comes alongside. The 3.4 Million Pound CMAL have got should be going towards getting the pier up to scratch for the new boat coming in to service. Islay should be a well off island with the amount of whisky that goes off the island and the tax that goes on to it.
Ron: If you want to join this debate you can either post your message in this forum topic, you need to be registered to do so, or you can send me your information through the feedback form and I will post your information in the forum. On behalf of Gavin and myself thanks very much!