Category Archives: Community Announcements

41 attended Public meeting on Tuesday 20th October


Tiree Access Steering Group put forward a proposal to the residents of Tiree on a way forward for providing sites
for the increasing number of visiting campervans/motorhomes. The meeting was chaired by Cllr Mary Jean Devon
with an introduction by John Bowler.

We know from Cal Mac that there was a 50% increase in Campervans/motorhomes in October ‘08 – May 09 on the
previous year and a 154% increase in June/July 09 compared with the same period 08.
The key problem is the lack of facilities resulting in vehicles parking illegally off-road on unfenced ground causing
erosion to the machair and dunes, most of which are designated under European law for their wildlife interest and we
have a duty of care to look after these. Disposal of sewage also became an increasing problem in these areas.

The proposal being put forward is that a number of sites for up to 3 campervans/motorhomes will be set up on crofts
and farms in time for next year. Provision will also be made for the disposal of sewage and grey water. The idea is
for sites to be booked centrally and a reference number provided before a ferry ticket can be purchased.

Q: Why is the increasing number of camper vans and motor-homes thought to be an issue?
A:We like to welcome our visitors and give them the best possible experience on Tiree. At present the only facility we
have is the campsite which was full all summer. Damage to the grazing and environmentally designated sites has
meant that campervans, vans etc are being asked to move on which is making visitors feel unwelcome – this situation
needs to be addressed by providing appropriate facilities.

Q:Why does it matter where they park? Restrictions make people feel unwelcome.
A: We need to protect the environment. The Access Officer has had many conversations over the busy season. Most
people would like an authorised site where they are welcomed and would be happy to pay a small nightly fee.
Feedback from visitors is that most are respectful of the fragility of the environment and support responsible parking.

Q: If there are authorised sites provided then why do they have to pre-book?
A: The Pre-booking system will allow numbers of vehicles coming to be limited to number of sites available.

Q: Many van users will sleep on designated sites but what about the daytime?
A: This comes under the broader issue of beach access which applies to all vehicles– the Access Group will continue
to encourage responsible access and work at providing authorised access tracks and car parks.

Q. How many sites will there be?
A. There is strong interest from several crofters to provide sites. We would like to provide as many sites as vehicles
requiring them. There is not thought to be a need at present to limit the number of sites.

Q: What happens if you’re coming with a campervan to reside with family or friends?
A: You would be allocated a special reference number.

Q: Who will the money go to?
A: The person providing the site with a small percentage going to the run the booking system.

Q: What about panel vans? Why are campervans and motor-homes being singled out?
A: They will not be ignored. If they park in unauthorized areas they will be moved on to authorised sites

Q: What will be done if people continue to park in unauthorised areas after being asked to move?
A: It is an offence to drive off the public road unless using designated tracks and sites and if people refuse to move to
authorised sites then the police would have to become involved.

Camper Van Public Meeting

Camper van drivers were accused of living in “Never, Never land” when they arrive off the ferry taking them to a Scottish island.

they end up in a Never, Never land

Andrew Montgomery, the Duke of Argyll’s estate factor, claimed the owners of the vans and other types of motor homes, break the law by selflessly driving over valuable grazing land. He told a public meeting on the Isle of Tiree:
“When the drivers arrive here they end up in a Never, Never land and think they can do what they like. They will have to be educated that Tiree is part of the rest of Britain and they should respect the same laws as they do back home.”

The meeting, attended by about 80 local crofters and other residents, heard how the van owners damage the land and shoreline dunes by driving over unfenced areas to get to the beaches. John Bowler, chairman of the local Access group set up to protect the fabric of the island, accused the van drivers of emptying their toilets on open ground. He said:
“We don’t want to ban the vans, but we must find a balance to stop the damage being done to the island. To allow unlimited access to the island is unsustainable as the increased traffic has already impacted on natural environment, water, sewage, waste and transport systems.”
He said there had been a 154 per cent increase in the number of vans to the islands, including Barra, Coll and the Uists, this summer because the ferry fares had been halved by the introduction of the Road Equivalent Scheme.

The small camp sites had been full along with two local parking areas. The meeting voted overwhelmingly, with only three people against, to introduce a scheme to restrict the vans arriving to those that prebooked an overnight parking site. The scheme would allow locals to provide parking for a small fee and enable the van drivers to empty their toilets in their sceptic tanks. The drivers would not be allowed to travel on the ferries when booking with Caledonian MacBrayne unless they had prebooked a site.

Councillor Mary Jean Devon, of Argyll and Bute Council, told the meeting that other islands, Colonsay and Iona, had schemes to restrict vehicle numbers to safeguard the fabric there. Alison Spence, Tiree’s full time Access officer, told the meeting that she counted 20 camper vans parked at one of the island’s beaches that day, but could not say how many more were elsewhere on the 12-mile-long by five-mile-broad island.

The meeting also agreed to hold a postal vote of local residents on the scheme to “manage” the flow of camper vans to the island – population 800 – and which is owned by the Argyll Estates.

-Ian Sharp

Tiree Wind Turbine Update

Many thanks to all the Tiree Community who have been supportive and understanding during the recent road
works from Scarinish to the turbine site at Ruaig. Agrimarine are working well and hope to complete all works
by the 30th. They also hope to carry out some of the more disruptive works during the hours of darkness when there should be less traffic on the road. This is likely to be the areas between the Pier Road end and Tullymet and the Salum road end to the site at Ruaig. Once we know specific times of the works we will ensure that this information is prominently displayed in the usual shops and business premises.
We can now confirm that the turbine components and crane will arrive by Calmac chartered ferry on Saturday
7th November. It is likely that the longest delays will be caused to Caolis bound traffic moving in the same direction as the crane trailer en route to the site. Once we have the travel schedule from the haulier we will again ensure that this information is prominently displayed as before in order that you can plan your journey accordingly.
If you require any further information regarding the project, please get in touch with Liz at the Trust Office:
01879 220074.

Fire Chief Visit to Tiree Promises Results


Due to the fundamental necessity of a Firefighting service on Tiree, issue 443 carried a front page story of our quietly heroic volunteers.

During the course of the interview it became apparent that all was far from well in terms of facilities, travel and training. Enquiries as to funding , and keeping the Tiree firefighters’ situation on the agenda of the relevant councillors and firefighting management , eventually led to a long overdue visit to Tiree on 25th August by the Chief Fire Officer Brian Sweeney for Strathclyde Fire & Rescue, the Argyll & Bute Commander Paul Connelly, the Convener and two Vice- Conveners of the Board as well as, amongst others, Councillor Donald MacDonald.

“The Chief Officer has given his commitment to upgrade the current site”

The visit was an excellent opportunity for the fire-fighters to air their concerns about a number of issues as well as clearly expressing their views on the need to improve the current facilities on Tiree.
The Chief Officer took note of the suggestions made as did the Board members who were fully supportive. Paul Connelly told An Tirisdeach “The Chief Officer has given his commitment to upgrade the current site if at all possible to include an extension that can be used to house toilet, shower and training facilities.”.

A commitment to explore and develop these ideas further was given with a view to putting something in place during the course of next financial year.

Tiree’s Margaret Worsley, Deputy Crew Commander was very positive about the visit and is optimistic that the guarantees they were given will bear fruit next year.

Vital Day Service Continues

councillors_mary_roddyCouncillors Mary-Jean Devon (Oban South & The Isles) and Roddy McCuish (Vice-Chair of Oban, Lorne & The Isles Area Committee) show their delight at the letter sent by Ann Austen Service Manager of the Social Work Departmment in response to the Day Service / Lunch Club’s letter to her Department.

Councillors Roddy McCuish and Mary Jean Devon held a surgery at Tiree Business Centre on Monday 7th Sept. Top of their agenda was our much cherished Lunch Club which is known as the Tiree Day Service.
Councillor Devon showed An Tirisdeach the letter which said “Sincere apologies for the manner in which people were notified of the intended closure of the Day Service. We will re-assess the situation over the next four months.” The Lunch Club were given assurances that the Club would be up and running by the 11th of September.

“We will be doing our utmost to keep this vital service”

Councillor Devon confirmed that this crucial service will run as normal until a consultation takes place. Councillor McCuish added ” Coming over here today can only endorse what Ann Austen said. It was handled poorly and having seen the facility for myself along with my colleague we will be doing our utmost to keep this vital service.”
Both councillors were unanimious in their unequivocal support of the Day Service, aware that the Lunch Club and Craft Class helps, amongst others, the elderly and the vulnerable. “We would encourage islanders to contact their councillors with any concerns regarding the island. We knew nothing about the situation until Mrs. MacCallum contacted us and we are thankful that she did.

“Sustaining communities in fragile rural areas is a big priority for us”

We will be more than happy to help continue this crucial service. Sustaining communities in fragile rural areas is a big priority for us, and we are committed in our support of islanders for these essential services.” The councillors pointed out that they can only act on information they receive and are keen that islanders keep them informed of issues that affect our community. Both councillors are aware that the problems islanders face are often unique to island life and do not always have a mainland equivalent.

Community Wind Turbine Update

turbine_site_worksWork is progressing well at the Ruaig site. Stage 1 (Access Road and Crane Pad) has been successfully completed by Agrimarine.

Stage 2 (Foundation Base) is now in progress. In simple terms, this stage consists of digging out a large hole, fabricating a metal frame, and pouring a large amount of concrete. The end result, after two or three weeks to set, is a large circular base on which the turbine will be bolted. It’s obviously a lot more technical than that and the team from Raymond Brown Construction, assisted by I A Mackinnon Haulage/Plant Hire, are working very professionally at the site to complete stage 2 on time.

In the coming few weeks a long articulated vehicle will come to the island to carry out a trial run up from Gott Pier to the Ruaig site. This will help to specifically define areas where road works are required to allow the vehicles carrying the turbine and crane to reach the site. Hopefully, all going to plan, the turbine and crane will arrive on the island around the middle of October. When the turbine and crane arrive on island there will be unavoidable disruption and delay on the roads from the pier to the site. Once dates are confirmed we will be able to give a more detailed time schedule to all.

Hopefully this information provides a general update and we apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused. If you have any concerns or wish more details regarding any stage of the process please get in touch with Liz at the Trust Office 01879 220074 or any of the Tiree Renewable Energy Company Ltd Directors.

Community Turbine Works Progress

turbine_siteAnyone passing by the turbine site at Ruaig could not fail to have noticed the seemingly never ending activity at the site.
The contractors men have been working tirelessly, in all weathers, over the last couple of weeks and the access road and crane pad are nearing completion. The next phase following immediately will be the construction of the turbine foundation base. This is simply a round concrete plinth about 17 metres in diameter upon which the turbine will be erected.
After the turbine is erected the foundation and the crane pad will be covered over and tidied up. The TREL Board wish to thank the community for their patience during the transportation of the aggregate to the site.
There will be some further movements of heavy vehicles delivering foundation materials but hopefully not to the same degree as before. Nevertheless we apologise if this causes any inconvenience. We will keep you advised of how things are progressing.

Lunch Club Closes, Then Opens Again!!

sandwichLunch club were dismayed to be informed that funding by Argyll/Bute Social Work Department was being withdrawn. The users and staff were given only one week’s notice and the Community Workshop was also informed that funding was being withdrawn. This came as a surprise to members as Social Work have no financial input!
The Lunch Club provides a vital service for the health and well being of the older population of Tiree not only offering social contact but support and access to other services. In the autumn people are offered not only a meal but a flu vaccination as well!! The manner in which the closure of this vital service has been conducted by Social Work has angered and dismayed the island population. One week’s notice has left very little opportunity to try to organise an alternative. For such a service to be discontinued thereby detrimentally affecting peoples lives it would have been courteous for a member of Social Work management to sit down with members of lunch club and explain the rationale behind this decision.
A meeting was held which was very well attended and it was decided that such a vital service should be continued and a plan of action was formulated. A letter will be sent to all our island representatives including the Head of Social Work protesting at their handling of this matter. Lunch Club will continue on a Monday and Friday offering tea, coffee soup and sandwiches and will be manned by volunteers. At the meeting we were able to identify people who would assist with transport and food but more volunteers are needed. So if you can help with transport , a pot of soup or just a little time we would love to hear from you. Alternatively you could drop into the Lunch Club and meet the present volunteers. Significantly everyone is now welcome so come along and join us. There will a small charge for refreshments but the important thing is that we keep going !!! Any enquiries regarding transport requirements or volunteering please contact the Lunch Club at the Resource Centre.

Skerryvore Debut At T In The Park

skerryvorePlaying in the Ceilidh Tent, the band were delighted with the enthusiasm in which they were received. Accordion player Daniel Gillespie told An Tirisdeach “ It was really exciting to play at Scotland’s biggest festival. It was a fantastic crowd and the atmosphere was amazing.”
The band also played some of their own compositions from their new album which was enthusiastically received.
Although the album is not due out until November the band have a busy summer schedule which includes being in concert with Skipinnish at the launch of their new album on Tiree.

Tiree Pupils Take on Star Status


As a community retailer it is appropriate that we involve the community

Tiree High School pupils take on star status to perform the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the revamped Co-op store on Tiree.
The children, from left, Frazer MacNeill, Kara Rennie, Michael MacDonald, Lewis MacDowall and Rory Kavanagh, were presented with a donation of £200 for school funds by store manager Andrew Hayes to mark the occasion.
The store has been transformed following a £350,000 revamp and features the consumer-owned business’ new identity, The co-operative, which aims to highlight improved service standards and its support for local communities and ethical trading policies.
As well as contemporary décor, new flooring, fittings and ecorefrigeration, there is an improved range of products with an emphasis on chilled and fresh foods including fresh meat, fruit and vegetables.

“As a community retailer it is appropriate that we involve the community in our special events and we are delighted that our local school could play a central role,”
said Andrew.

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