Aquaculture and wind power generation once again form the backbone of this week’s crop of readers’ letters to The Buteman.
To have your thoughts on any subject of Bute interest published in our next print edition, email firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Monday at the latest - though as always, the sooner we hear from you, the better are your chances of seeing your views in print.
Please keep your letters as brief as you can, and remember to include your name and address for publication. We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be printed.
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Fish farm would hurt natural Bute
Although I possess no formal natural history qualifications, I do have a lifetime of studying and photographing wildlife.
On this basis, I would like to give my reasons for objecting to the Scottish Salmon Company’s proposals for fish farms near Kilchattan Bay and St Ninian’s Bay, and urge you all to do likewise.
My objections are for the following reasons.
1. The effect on the natural views around the coast of Bute would be drastically altered, and certainly, from a photographer’s point of view, would no longer present viable images of this (currently) unspoilt vista.
2. Bute has been chosen as one of Britain’s ‘Blue Spaces’, prized for its pristine views with no pollution of sound, sight or air.
3. The owners of fish farms have carte blanche permission to shoot any seals found disturbing their nets.
4. There are increasing numbers of otters around our shores which is in no small part due to the lack of interference by man (in all the ways mentioned at (3) above). The farms would certainly alter that!
5. The areas proposed are known areas for sightings of basking shark. These creatures have no ‘reverse gear’, and if, when swimming with their mouths fully extended whilst feeding, they encounter mooring ropes, they both endeavour to push further forwards and will try to spin to free themselves of the ropes.
Dead basking sharks have been found near Arran where they have encountered ropes and have been unable to free themselves and drowned.
6. The marine environment pollution caused by these farms is well documented. The waters around Bute are only just beginning to recover from the over fishing of some 30 years ago and it would be a travesty to now destroy areas where fish and invertebrates are breeding and once again colonising.
Now I realise that we shall all be labelled as NIMBYs, but if we do not speak up against these unnatural features of mankind, then the Isle of Bute will no longer be ‘the jewel in the Clyde’ but just another island with little to offer the visitor to Scotland.
Phil Kirkham, Crofton Cottage, Ascog
Development is a horrifying prospect
I was horrified by the proposal to install salmon farms at two of the most beautiful spots on our island.
The north end was targeted unsuccessfully following an almighty struggle by Bute people a few years ago , but as big businesses can afford to lie dormant and wait, the threat is back again.
‘Chuckie Bay’ at White Port, near Kilchattan Bay has been enjoyed by generations of children and their families.
I remember the picnics, paddling in the clear sparkling water and fishing for ‘baggy -minnows’ in the rock pools. It is an idyllic and beautiful area. Moving on a little, it will be remembered by many a courting couple too!
Nothing has changed. The White Port area is well known as being an amazing introduction to the West Island Way. People pause to clamber over the White Port rocks and to enjoy the view and the quietness. Well worth protecting - and so good for the soul!
To many, locals and visitors alike, this is a very special area. My family go back many generations in Kilchattan and the Wee Bay. For this reason it is with a heavy heart that I imagine just under half a mile of fish tanks could be sited parallel to the West Island Way shoreline, shattering the beauty and quiet that was there.
I knew nothing about intensive fish farming before this attempt to install two on Bute. I had an open mind, however, having now read extensively now on the subject, I have formed the opinion that that the business is a juggernaut , determined to push on for profit, despite local concerns and opinions.
Liz Wren, Kiln Villa, Kilchattan Bay
No financial return for BCP members
Last week you published a letter from Jim Mitchell objecting to the chair of Bute Community Power, Jim Osborne, saying that some opponents of the Auchintirrie wind turbine project were misinformed.
Unfortunately for Mr Mitchell, his letter makes Mr Osborne’s case for him.
According to Mr Mitchell, BCP members face ‘a potential four hundred percent
return’ on the £1 membership fee. This is wrong. The financial return to BCP members if Auchintirrie goes ahead is zero per cent, zero pounds, nothing.
Mr Mitchell is also misinformed when he claims that those community councillors who supported the Auchintirrie application at the community council meeting on June 17 did not understand what a declared interest was.
They did, in that they properly declared a non-financial interest.
Mick Common, Park Cottage, Upper Quay Street, Port Bannatyne
Co-op bag-pack raises cash for Robin House
On June 9, 2015 our son and brother Flynn would have been three years old.
On Saturday, June 6, we, with the kind agreement of the Co-op, did a bag pack to raise funds for Robin House which is run by CHAS (Children’s Hospice Association Scotland).
My family and I would like to say thank you to all of those who helped us, both the volunteers and those who donated, with our fundraising effort.
We raised a staggering £837.50 (including the Gift Aid contribution).
A worthy cause was given a fantastic donation and I am always in awe of how many people are so willing to dig deep and give to charity. Best wishes to you all.
Lia, Jason and Anakin McLeod, 26 Ardbeg Road, Rothesay
Dairy co-op does not need a new chairman
Could I offer a few comments on the recent resignation of Sir Jim Paice MP as chairman of First Milk?
He has had a fair grilling and a lot of criticism from hard pressed members in the last six months or so, since we have slid into a situation where we are receiving a milk price which is a joke.
His resignation statement raised a few eyebrows by the fact that he says he is willing to stay on until a replacement is found.
With First Milk just having announced losses of £23 million for the year to March 31, 2015, and currently running an overdraft of, it is rumoured, £50 million, why do we need another chairman?
Sir Jim’s salary was rumoured to be £90,000 - or £1,800 for every meeting he attended.
I remember in the good days of Scottish Milk, Jack Pirie retired as chief executive and we saved a lot of money then by appointing John Duncan, who was the chairman, in a dual role as chairman and chief executive.
John received a lot of flak in these days but never presided over a company that got in to such a terrible mess as First Milk are in today.
Having met First Milk’s new chief executive, Mike Gallacher, in Rothesay two milk price cuts ago, I am quite sure that he could chair the meetings of First Milk’s board, and save the company around £100,000 - money we can ill afford to spend.
Robert Macintyre, Dunallan Farm, Rothesay
Numbers game on BCP turbine application
As I read the comments by Mick Common (Letters, July 3) regarding the numbers opposing and supporting the Auchintirrie wind turbines I became confused.
Mr Common said that the letters from people from the island totalled 141, 70 in support and 71 objecting.
However, when I last wrote to this paper, on June 4, I had just read through all the letters that had been written at that time, and the total was 210, with 35 coming from off the island (33 opposing and two in support), giving a total of 175 letters that had been written by folk on the island. What happened to the 34
folk that Mick did not count?
Curious as to where the total of letters now stood I visited the Argyll and Bute Council planning website again.
There are currently 242 total letters received, 148 opposing and 94 supporting.
As my letter had been too long to go via the website, when it was received as hard copy and scanned, it meant I was double counted for the opposition number.
Reeni Kennedy Boyle wrote two letters in support and Mick wrote three. Adjusting for these multiple counts, the total correspondents becomes 238, 147 opposing and 91 supporting.
I also read all the letters received since June 4, when I last broke the numbers down, and from off the island there were eight opposing and seven supporting.
In total, 50 responses were received from off the island.
That gives a total of 188 island folk who wrote in, 106 opposing and 82 in support.
Theresa Nelson, 3/1, 23 Argyle Place, Rothesay
Dam project would be better fit for Bute
At the risk of repeating myself, Mr Osborne and the committee of Bute Community Power might concentrate instead on the refurbishment of the Lade Dam and the building of a large water wheel or Archimedes screw turbine on the Lade.
I believe such a project would increase tourism and the constant electricity generated could provide an income for the benefit of the community.
The dam was built to regulate the flow of water down the burn for the cotton mill.
The dam could be cleared and modern sluice gates installed. Any wildlife displaced would soon return as dams are peaceful places.
The dam might even become a boating lake and another benefit for the community and tourism.
On the topic of the proposed fish farm near Kilchattan Bay, sewage from the village used to discharge straight into the sea.
Wilma McKay of the Community Council helped Scottish Water to facilitate the building of our sewage treatment plant with its attendant reed bed and bus turning point at the end of the village.
It is an extreme irony that a company now wants to place a highly polluting salmon fish farm at exactly the point where the reed bed discharges clean water into the sea. This is entirely the wrong place and must not be allowed.
Finally, I love Karen Keith’s weekly jokes. More please!
Paul McKay, Tigh-na-Ceol, Kingarth