Your letters to The Buteman: July 24, 2015

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Praise for the organisers of the inaugural ButeFest rubs shoulders with criticism of, and thanks from, Bute Vintage Club in the latest crop of your letters to The Buteman.

To have your thoughts on any subject of Bute interest published in our next print edition, email 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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Walking route damaged by tractors’ visit

Last Monday morning, July 13, I set off on one of my regular walks, along Westlands Road and then along the track to the Gortans.

I did know the tractors taking part in Bute Vintage Club’s annual road run had used this track two days earlier, and I was dreading seeing the mess all those machines had made.

It was worse than I had imagined. Despite wearing my good walking boots, I never even made it to the first steel gate. The track is totally churned up, and impassable unless the walker is wearing full-length wellies.

Whatever possessed the Vintage Club committee to decide to use this route? It is a part of the West Island Way, and anyone walking that would have to keep going despite the underfoot conditions. At least I had the option to turn round and head back to the car.

Had we had a long dry spell, no doubt the track would have survived, but with the wet conditions we have endured for months, anyone would surely realise the damage that would be done to this lovely part of Bute. Presumably the other tracks used that day are in a similar condition.

I think the club should be held responsible and made to use their resources to repair the damage the event has caused.

Sue Smith, Rosebank, 13 Marine Place, Rothesay

Fish farm firm still looking for the right sites

Following the recent Community Council meeting held on July 15, and interest from the people of Bute in our presentation around recent pre-planning activity for two salmon farms on the island, I thought it would be beneficial to provide a brief overview for readers unable to attend the meeting.

Salmon is the number one food export in Scotland. The key to the industry’s success is the provenance of being a Scottish product alongside high production standards, including environment management.

We also have a highly regulated industry, which supports our brand internationally.

The Scottish Salmon Company is a young and maturing business. Our focus is entirely Scottish, with facilities only in Scotland, ranging from the south of Scotland on the isle of Arran, to Lewis in the north.

Our aim is to grow a sustainable business that produces first class, quality Scottish salmon for both the domestic and international markets, focusing on our Scottish provenance and supporting the rural communities in which we operate.

Currently we employ 450 staff across the business, with around 170 in Argyll and Bute. We are keen to explore the south region as part of our growth plans, which also reflect Scottish Government’s aims for the aquaculture industry to achieve increased sustainable growth targets by 2020.

We initially identified two potential sites in Bute, namely White Port and Straad. As part of our initial consultation activity and pre-application dialogue, we held discussions with Argyll and Bute Council and statutory consultees (SEPA, Marine Scotland and SNH), as well as other interest groups - the RYA, fishermen’s associations, Fisheries Trust, community council - and the wider community at a number of open days.

This level of consultation is not obligatory, but our approach is very much to work closely with local communities in all the areas we operate, ensuring transparency and two-way dialogue.

Whilst determining our application for a Lease Option Agreement, the Crown Estate informed us of a conflict of interest at White Port.

BT has cables laid across the proposed area for the site, and the lease arrangements with the Crown Estate mean that it would not be possible to use this site for any other purpose. Therefore, we are not progressing White Port any further.

As a result it is our intention to put Straad on hold until we can identify another complementary location, which would also provide economies of scale.

We are still keen to work closely with the community to identify the right sites. Salmon farming is already established in other neighbouring areas such as Loch Striven and Arran and we would bring additional support to the community through job creation, sponsorship of events and initiatives, and further economic benefit from collaborations with local businesses.

Although Bute has built a strong reputation for its tourism, we believe salmon farming can successfully work alongside this and provide year-round economic benefits to the area.

Dr Rebecca Dean (environmental manager, The Scottish Salmon Company Ltd), 8 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh

Charity event a big success once again

Following the Bute Vintage Club’s latest successful charity road run on July 11, I would like to thank the following who contributed to its success.

Argyll and Bute Council, Police Scotland and the Bute coastguard team managed the stewarding throughout the run. The Bute Ceilidh Band entertained on the Esplanade before the road run’s participants set off and again at the Isle of Bute Sailing Club at the end of the tour, and Robert Macintyre flagged the tractors off.

We are also most grateful to Mount Stuart for allowing the road run to visit the house, and to the Isle of Bute Sailing Club, who again allowed us to use their premises as the terminus of the run and where the usual hospitality was enjoyed.

Thank you to everyone who donated food and raffle prizes and who served tea to the participants.

Thankfully the rain stayed away until the very end.

The 106 entries to the run made the day possible, and I thank them all for coming.

The total raised in sponsorship money and donations on the day will be announced and presented in due course. Thanks again to everyone.

Robert McKirdy (secretary, Bute Vintage Club), 14 Roslin Crescent, Rothesay

Plea ahead of Beautiful Scotland visit

May I take this opportunity to let readers of The Buteman know that the judges from the Beautiful Scotland initiative will be visiting Rothesay on Thursday, August 6 to assess Bute In Bloom’s presentation in the 2015 competition.

The mainstays of our presentations in the past have been Beachwatch Bute, the Grow Bute allotments opposite St Andrew’s Primary School, the Townscape Heritage Initiative and the excellent floral displays in the Esplanade Gardens and at Ardencraig.

This year we have improved many aspects of our presentation, which will include the renovated garden site in King Street, revamped under the auspices of the HELP Project, while the two wild bird feeding areas, in Watergate and behind the TSB in Montague Street, are being improved.

Hanging baskets have been reinstated on lamp-posts, there are more wooden planters along Victoria Street courtesy of For Bute, and there will be planters with floral arrangements situated along Albert Place and round Guildford Square.

These last items are thanks to generous donations of materials from Bute Pet Supplies, Bute Tools, and Argyll and Bute Council’s amenity services department.

We also have the ongoing improvements to the Chapelhill rockery by Gina and Alan Denholm. In Guildford Square, the benches are getting a new coat of paint and there is also the outstanding new frontage on the former ‘gap site’, which last year was covered in scaffolding.

There are, however, two aspects of the competition in which Rothesay has regularly been marked down, and with that in mind I am appealing to locals to help.

First, it has been mentioned in every assessment from the Beautiful Scotland judges that the bottoms of many shop fronts are badly marked by dirt caused by splashing from the rain.

Second, as the judges make their way to Ardencraig Gardens and then return from there to the town centre, they have registered the hope that more can be done by way of floral displays on the frontages of the buildings along Battery Place and Mountstuart Road.

We would be very grateful if businesses could help with these two items.

Iain Gillespie (secretary, Bute In Bloom), 37 East Princes St, Rothesay

Pat on the back for ButeFest organisers

Congratulations to those who worked so hard to bring ButeFest to Bute, and I’m sure despite the weather a good time was had.

It was so good to see the Meadows being used as it was intended, as a public park for local events. It is such a lovely area and is seldom used these days.

In years gone by it was a real focal point for the community, hosting all sorts of events - how nice it would be to see that again.

Perhaps the music was a bit loud at times, but that was to be expected, and I am sure plenty notice was given prior to the event. That is a small price to pay to see people coming to the island and hopefully wanting to return.

The Meadows is an ideal location as it is within walking distance of the pier for those without transport, and also allows people to walk back into town and potentially bring revenue to the shops, bars and restaurants.

As for the muddy park - well, what else could it be with rain like that? And the ground was no more churned than after a cattle show in the rain.

Festivals such as Glastonbury and T in the Park are notorious for the rain and subsequent muddy quagmires, yet they are successful year after year, and the grounds always seem to recover.

I sincerely hope the festival becomes an annual event and will continue to bring much needed revenue to the island, as well as putting Bute back in the public eye.

Enterprises like this should be supported by the local community and may even inspire others to give their ideas a go.

Alison MacGuire, Brookvilla, Port Bannatyne

Praise for hard work, energy and ambition

Can I just say a big well done to the committee of ButeFest 2015 for all the hard work, energy and commitment that went into the project.

We as a family loved every moment of the weekend. The thought that went into every detail from the amazing line up of bands and entertainers, kids entertainment, choice of food and drinks, artwork and layout of the site, was fantastic.

All these factors created a wonderful family weekend packed full of fun, laughter and of course music. The rain and mud only added to the festival feel and I am sure the park will return to its green state very soon.

Three cheers to thehardworking individuals, the volunteers who helped and the people who came and put Bute on the festival calendar.

Tara Timms, 1a Mountpleasant Road, Rothesay