Argyll and Bute’s Liberal Democrat MP Alan Reid says the Scottish Government should build a breakwater at Wemyss Bay to give the ferry terminal proper protection from the elements.
Mr Reid was reacting to the news, reported on this site on September 25, that the mainland terminal is to close for four months next year for major repairs, with Rothesay’s ferry services diverted to run to and from Gourock as a result.
Mr Reid, who has criticised both the timing of the announcement and the lack of consultation with ferry users, has written to Scotland’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon seeking answers to a series of questions relating both to Bute and to the impact the diversion will have on people using Argyll Ferries’ passenger service between Gourock and Dunoon.
Mr Reid’s questions are as follows.
* Why is this work being carried out between February and May, meaning that tourists will be deterred from visiting Bute during the spring and early summer season? Why could it not be carried out during the quieter winter months?
* Can a through ticketing arrangement be agreed with Western Ferries to help ferry users who choose to go to Bute via their service and the Colintraive-Rhubodach one?
* What impact will this have on the Coruisk sailings to Dunoon?
* Why is nothing being done at Gourock to help Dunoon passengers with limited mobility? Can an access to the Dunoon-Gourock passenger ferry that could be used by disabled passengers be built as close as possible to the exit from the station?
“This SNP decision is grim news for Bute ferry users and Dunoon ferry users who have mobility problems,” Mr Reid said.
“This announcement of very bad news from the SNP Government has come out just after the referendum without any prior consultation with ferry users. It will mean tremendous disruption for Bute ferry users and visitors to the island during the spring and early summer season.
“Instead of just carrying out repairs to the port infrastructure, the SNP Government should build a breakwater at Wemyss Bay to both protect the port infrastructure and reduce the number of cancelled sailings in the future.
“I was shocked by the way the CalMac announcement dismissed the problems that will be caused to Dunoon passengers with limited mobility. Instead of just dismissing these passengers, the SNP Government should build an access to the Dunoon-Gourock ferry that could be used by disabled passengers as close as possible to the exit from the station.”
The Rothesay service’s diversion to Gourock means that the Dunoon passenger ferries, which normally make use of the linkspan at Gourock to allow mobility-impaired passengers to get to and from the vessel, will not be able to do so while the Bute ferry is berthed there.