This week’s pick of your letters to The Buteman

Email your opinions to news@buteman.com, with the subject line 'Letter to the Editor'.
Email your opinions to news@buteman.com, with the subject line 'Letter to the Editor'.

The latest crop of readers’ letters, as published in the December 19 issue of The Buteman, includes opinions on the Guildford Square gap site and on overseas aid as well as ‘thank you’ messages from North Bute Primary School, the organisers of Port Bannatyne’s Christmas lights display and the president of the Bute Amateur Players.

To see your views on any local issue featured in our next print edition, email your thoughts to news@buteman.com - please note that due to the Christmas and New Year holiday period, our deadlines are Monday, December 22 at 12 noon (for publication in the December 26 issue, on sale on Christmas Eve) and Monday, December 29 at 12 noon (for publication in our January 2 issue, in the shops on Hogmanay).

Please make sure you include your postal address for publication alongside your letter, and also a daytime phone number in case we need to check anything at short notice (though the latter will not be published).

Gap site work is ahead of schedule

I picked up on a couple of slightly misleading statements in the otherwise very good front page article in last week’s issue of The Buteman.

The first statement I picked up on is “the scaffold finally came down”. It’s worth stating that the project at 15-19 Montague St is not due for completion until April 2015. As a result of a big push on the project, and with Christmas in mind, we managed to achieve dismantling the full height scaffold to the frontage approximately eight weeks ahead of schedule. However, fitting out and external works will continue until March or April.

For clarification there are four residential properties above the retail unit, not two as reported - these comprise two two-bedroom flats and two one-bedroom flats).

The article also states that “George Hanson Building Contractors won the contract to build a three-story development back in October 2013”. In fact the gap site development was designed for me by architects Honeyman Jack and Robertson of Glasgow, and the new building was built and financed by George Hanson Building Contractors with some financial assistance from the Townscape Heritage Initiative and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The purpose of this financial support was to help upgrade the specification of key elements to the building fabric - in particular enhancement of material and design for incorporating stone, cast iron gutters and down pipes, heavier code lead, traditional slating, timber sash and case windows, underpinning and structural related remediation works.

Without the assistance of the THI, HIE and Argyll and Bute Council, this project would still have been delivered, but would not have been achievable in quite its present format, and their help and assistance was greatly appreciated.

The project is ahead of schedule, employing mostly local firms and we have had a tremendous response from your readers, passers-by and the public in general, which is very uplifting and gives us all a tremendous sense of achievement.

Lastly, could we all at George Hanson Building Contractors thank everyone for their patience, support and kind words of encouragement and wish them all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

George Hanson (owner, George Hanson Building Contractors), Union Street, Rothesay

Important vote on overseas aid guarantees

I know that it is unfashionable but I should like through your letters page to congratulate Westminster politicians for their wise and compassionate action to improve the lives of millions of the world’s

poorest people.

On Friday, December 5, Parliament supported a private member’s Bill proposed by Liberal Democrat former Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore,

to guarantee minimum levels of spending on overseas aid.

Britain is the first member of the G8 group of industrialised nations to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of national income committed to international development.

Having worked with and for British and international development agencies since 1973 in some of the world’s

poorest countries, I am all too aware of the helplessness which is experienced by neglected and marginalized communities.

Poverty regrettably exists in all countries but the absolute poverty of not having food for one’s children, or seeing family members die for lack of medicine, or being a crippling burden on one’s family in old

age leads to hopelessness. This Bill will give hope to some of the world’s poorest folk.

Communities and individuals in Argyll and Bute every day of the year find international deprivation and poverty unacceptable. They express

their compassion in many ways, by donating to charities such as Oxfam, Save the Children, SCIAF, Christian Aid and my others.

Local people staff charity shops, take part in marathons, participate in challenge events, and even wear red noses. World justice is something people feel strongly about and it is good that our MPs are using our taxes to advance global fairness.

Those who say, ‘Charity should begin at home’ should support overseas development assistance as it creates markets for our products, helps avoid global health epidemics which could affect each one of us, and

builds understanding and relationships which avoid conflicts and wars.

Local MP, Alan Reid, was one of the MPs who took action to ensure the Bill was not talked out and progressed to the Lords. He is quoted as

saying, “This is very significant legislation as it fights global

poverty and saves lives.”

Wouldn’t it be great if all legislation had such positive results!

Finlay Craig, Rossarden, Shore Road, Cove

Thanks from North Bute for sale support

On behalf of North Bute Primary I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped to make our recent RNLI sale and school fundraiser such a success.

The kindness and generosity of spirit shown by parents, grandparents, friends and members of the community has been astonishing .

As always the parent council worked hard to support the event. As well as many other things they served teas, coffees and cakes, helped Mrs Brown and P4/5 to organise the funfair games and even dressed up!

Lastly, thank you to all the pupils of North Bute Primary who never fail to make us proud!

We raised £800 in total for the RNLI, £125 in the tearoom and £120 in the funfair games.

Elizabeth McMillan (head teacher), North Bute Primary School, Port Bannatyne

Festive lights display in Port Bannatyne

There was a fantastic turn out on Saturday, November 29 to see the Christmas lights being Switched on and to visit Santa in his grotto.

The fun event kicked off a 7pm with carols beautifully sung by the children of North Bute School.

Councillor Robert Macintyre then introduced Lauren Miller the winner of the colouring competition. Lauren did the honours by switching on the lights which magically lit up the entire seafront and giant Christmas tree.

Before we knew it Santa made a stately appearance from the North on top of a suitably decorated forklift, quite an entrance this year!

Once back on terra firma he made his way to his grotto on the Old Quay where he spent the next hour or so talking to the children and giving them each a “surprise” gift.

He was of course assisted by his little elf who was on hand to help him in this monumental task.

During the evening there was excellent entertainment provided by Robert Jardine and Fire Poi by Nicola Jones.

All in all a brilliant night and a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season.

The Port Bannatyne Gala Group have stepped in and saved the day by organising and managing the event which was enjoyed by all.

We would like to thank everyone who supported us - all the volunteers, the Port Bannatyne Village Enhancement Group, the Old Quay Cafe, The Anchor and the Port Inn.

Thanks also in no partcular order to Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Company, the Taverna Bar, For Bute, Print Point, Peter Sadecki, Cowal Builders, John and Elaine Mackirdy, Gilbert Mackay, Adelaide Smith, Willie McMillan, Jack Paterson, Ian Carmichael, Argyll and Bute Council and our local police officers.

Phyllis Ward, Flat 1/2, 15 Castle Street, Port Bannatyne

Thanks to the team behind Robin Hood

May I, throughThe Buteman, take this opportunity to thank everybody who was involved in this year’s Bute community pantomime, Robin Hood.

The people involved are too numerous to mention individually (especially with a cast of 52) but you all know who you are.

However, if I may just mention specifically Jane Catlin, who designed the set, and Jessie Gardner for the Dame’s costume: both deserve particular praise for their contributions to the show.

We have had very favourable reports and are hopeful that it may encourage more people to get involved with Bute Amateur Players.

With that in mind, we would like to invite any interested parties to a social evening at the Bayview Hotel on Thursday, January 8 at 7pm to discuss future productions.

I would also like to say a huge thanks to everybody who attended the Panto and received it with such enthusiasm.

Irene McGregor (president, Bute Amateur Players), Bayview Hotel, Mountstuart Road, Rothesay