Tiree Community Council July Meeting

Space on the ferry, or the lack of it, took up most of the time at July’s meeting, but there was also a mention for the Scarinish phone box and a virtual open day later in the year.

The island’s community council usually takes a long summer holiday, but events this year have been moving so quickly, we decided we had to keep going. Once again the videoconferencing platform Zoom brought in a large crowd, with almost fifty devices and around sixty people listening in. These large numbers can make it difficult to see everyone who has logged in, so forgive me if you were raising your hand and were ignored.

The ferry – or, more exactly, getting hold of one of the 86 reservations on the ferry – was the main topic. In response to widespread pressure from islands up and down the west coast, including from Tiree Community Council, CalMac is keeping 20% of tickets out of the usual booking system for purchase on the day of travel.

The idea behind this is that local people will stand more of a chance of securing one of these. Certainly, the experience so far has shown that if you are able to go in person to the Gott Bay office you should be able to get a place on board, and we really thank the local staff for going above and beyond the line of duty. Returning to Tiree might be more of a challenge if you don’t have a booking, with the Oban office opening at 0615.

If you are having a real problem, please get in touch with me. CalMac are looking to add a Friday boat to the schedule from 15 July. Cloth facial coverings are now compulsory, and passengers will be expected to provide their own.

Flights will combine with Barra until 15 July, when the Islander will revert to the rotation through Campbeltown. As travelling numbers pick up – and several recent flights have been full – a return to the usual timetable of two flights a day seems likely on 3 August, provided the public health situation on Tiree does not deteriorate.

The Community Council phone box in Scarinish has been renovated beautifully, thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers. It has been put to good use as the Solar community cupboard containing food and toiletries to help families through the crisis.

A proposal for a Virtual Doors Open Day caught our eye recently. Put on by Argyll and Bute Council and the Scottish Civic Trust, this allows the public access to buildings that are usually closed. We thought a video tour of some Tiree landmarks that many of us have not seen, such as the new fish handling unit at Milton pier, might be an interesting project, and we will discuss this with other key island bodies such as the Trust and Discover Tiree.

We have considered the issues raised by a few members of the public in respect to governance and our letter issued to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport. We agreed that the criticism did not require, or warrant, any further response and completely refuted the allegations of incompetence or self interest.

The procedure for complaints had also been confirmed at the meeting. It was also recognized that, as illustrated by the significant volume of comments of support we have received, the Council has acted in the best interests of the community and as part of the democratic process will continue to seek public opinion and take the appropriate action in similar matters.

Finally we are looking to co-opt two new members, with a particular view to increasing our diversity to better represent the community.

If you have any issues where you think we can help, do contact us at doc.holliday@tireecommunitycou ncil.co.uk | 220385 or phyl@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk

Dr John Holliday, Convenor, Tiree Community Council

Put the Community in Tiree Community Council

The lockdown has seen a boom in volunteering and in participating in the Community Council public meetings, with around sixty people joining in by Zoom. We now want to appoint another two community councillors to take us up to full strength. It is no secret that the council has plenty of men of a certain vintage. We have recently been strongly encouraged to become more diverse, to bring in a younger generation, particularly women, as well as crofters and members of the fishing community. We would particularly, therefore, welcome expressions of interest from these groups. However, if you feel that you have skills that you can bring to the council, we would of course also be interested in hearing from you. Please contact us within the next week. If you want to chat this through, contact myself, Phyl or any of the other community councillors.