The lack of video-conferencing facilities for council meetings in Argyll and Bute has come in for criticism this week.
Dunoon councillor Michael Breslin aired his concerns after one of the authority’s officials was unable to speak on two Bute-related topics at a meeting in Cowal because his car had broken down.
The meeting of the council’s Bute and Cowal area committee, held at Castle House in Dunoon, was due to consider reports on the progress of the Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum (SURF), which is assessing the potential for an ‘Alliance for Action’ regeneration initiative in Rothesay, and on the council’s economic development action plan for the Bute and Cowal area.
Both reports were noted in the absence of the official concerned, Rothesay-based development officer Peter McDonald, but there was no opportunity for councillors to ask questions or debate the reports at any length.
Councillor Breslin said: “Officers should not need to travel. If we had properly equipped facilities here Peter could have done this by video.
“We have no progress because we haven’t implemented a technology solution that has been available for 15-20 years.”
Video links exist in Rothesay at a number of locations, including the council’s own offices at Eaglesham House and Union Street, though Castle House has no such facilities - or, apparently, even a phone line.
A set of recommendations on the subject of ‘media platforms’ was considered and approved by the council in June 2013, “subject to further discussion on the financing of the projects taking place at a future meeting of the council and further detailed information on the projects also being provided”.