Tiree Community Council September Meeting

Kelp dredging around the island, a significant reduction in the support given by Argyll and Bute Council for the Tiree- Oban flight, and the state of houses at Pier View came up for discussion at amarathon two-and-a-half-hour session of Tiree Community Council, the first after a two-month summer recess.

A company called Marine Biopolymers has submitted plans to trawl for kelp around Tiree. Kelp beds are breeding grounds for small fish, and the fear is that removing them would cut the catch of the island’s fishing fleet. The beds also cushion the force of Atlantic storms on the coastline, and the worry is that trawling them could make erosion of our sandy beaches, already an issue,worse. There could be less storm-cast seaweed for crofters to use on their fields. The effects on seals, basking sharks and animals like dolphins are also unknown, having a possible knock-on effect on sea life tourism. And large quantities of discarded kelp ‘stems’ might wash up on the island’s shores as an unsightly and smelly mess. We will respond to Marine Scotland in the next week with a list of our concerns, having won an extension.
Argyll and Bute Council have decided to cut the annual subsidy for the Oban-Coll-Tiree air link by a quarter, from £735,000 to £525,000. The service is going out to tender early next year. The worry is that the sum won’t be enough to attract an operator, and the service could be cut to one day a week or even stop completely. The flights are particularly popular with patients going to Oban hospital, allowing them to return the same day. We were concerned that the figures had been hidden deep in the council budget report, and needed a lot of digging to find them. We will lobby hard to preserve this service, one of the achievements of the last community council.We also decided to ask Highlands and islands Airports to see if there was a better way for disabled passengers to access the Glasgow plane than the current Stairmaster.
The poor state of housing at ‘Tank Farm’was also raised. We will try to meet as many residents as we can to get a fuller picture, and then get back to West Highland Housing Association. We also decided to chase up Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who sold a plot of land next to Tank Farm to MacLeod Construction of Lochgilphead, over the heads of two island groups.
The next meeting of the council will be on 10 October. Alison Clark and Ian Gillies were co-opted for a two-year term. The next elections will be in 2020, when two seats will be up for grabs.
Dr John Holliday, William Angus MacLean, Robert Trythall and Andy Wright and twelve members of the public were in attendance.

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