Tag Archives: community

Cúram set back as council says no

Curam Thiriodh

The Cùram Thiriodh working group received a knock back in May as their bid to apply to manage the Eventide Home and the home care service was not accepted by the Council.

The group had spent three months preparing themselves to tender for the services the Council is trying to privatise, in an attempt to keep control on the island. However, in the last few weeks it became apparent that the Council wasn’t allowing bids from new groups after all – only organisations already running care homes were being allowed to submit offers. That leaves Tiree at the mercy of the Council and the market – if even one outside company puts in an acceptable bid for either service, the Council can give them the contract.

Before Cùram became aware that their bid would not be accepted they had moved quickly – it became a legal company, elected directors, opened a bank account and is well on the way to becoming a charity. Contacts were made far and wide as ideas poured in from around the country. The working group believe that Cùram’s longer term aim should be to bring together the medical, nursing and social carers (from the Eventide Home and the community) plus volunteers into one team, working as much as possible under one roof. They would also like to have the resources to help people stay at home longer, including starting day care.

Although Cùram did not qualify for the tender process, the Council asked Cùram to send in their ideas and if there are no acceptable private bids the way could be cleared for some of the new group’s plans to be adopted. We will not know until mid-August if contracts to run the Home Care and/or Care at Home services have been awarded.

In the long term the working group wants to build and run a new care centre for the island. Here there is some good news as the Health Board, Council and a local housing association have all said they would be willing to start discussions and the first meetings will take place in the next few weeks.

Cùram chairman, Dr Holliday, said,
“To put in so much work since the New Year, it is obviously disappointing not to get a chance to bid against the private companies. We had to get our act together quickly – but the pressure will be a good thing in the long run. We’ve formed a strong team, we know what we want and are a significant step closer to bringing together a partnership to build a new care centre.”

Meeting fails to allay fears

Tiree Array (artists impression)

A two hour long meeting between Scottish Government officials and members of the community in An Talla this week failed to allay fears of possible “devastating on-shore work” on Tiree during the off-shore windfarm project.

Three officials from Marine Scotland, a Government body, explained to the meeting the steps leading up to the planning and licensing stages. Mr Phil Gilmour revealed that the off-shore and the on-shore parts of the plan will be split when it comes to the applications. When asked about the possibility of the massive electricity sub-station being sited on the island instead of out at sea, which is a more expensive option, he said that only the off-shore scenario was in his remit, and planning consent would have to be granted by Argyll council.

In reply to questions from members of the community at the meeting he said that even if the council planning committee refused the application it could be passed to the Scottish Government who could overrule the decision. He said:
“The decision could be overturned by the appropriate Minister.”
Planning permission for a possible converter and other onshore operation and maintenance facilities would only come up AFTER the off-shore licence had been granted. When asked if he thought it likely that planning permission would, thereafter, be refused by the council Mr Gilmour repeated a lengthy explanation of how both parts of the work were separate.

Mr Mark Christie, one of the Marine Scotland team, said that there would be “significant onshore impact” on Tiree from the windfarm project. Mr Gilmour said that the legal procedures involved in the process leading up to off shore wind farms were still evolving and that he and his team were ahead of other countries and that he had been abroad to address European countries on the Scottish model.

Many people left the meeting at its close expressing disappointment. They said they had learned nothing new and felt that they had been given only verbal promises that proper consultation between SPR and the community would be honoured in future. Ex-councillor Ian Gillies said:
“I am more fearful now than I was at the beginning of the meeting for a transparent approach by SPR.”
Another local resident said:
“In my opinion, what we experienced tonight was a ‘snow job’. What we are facing is months if not years of devastating industrialisation of our island and nobody will tell us what exactly to expect.”

Mr Robert Trythall, who spearheads the No-Tiree-Array campaign against the siting of the proposed wind farm asked why the proposed development was named Argyll Array, instead of Tiree Array, which would be more meaningful and alert people from elsewhere to the possible destruction of such a beautiful island. Mr Gilmour said it was up to Scottish Power to name their own project, and he agreed to ask if the name could be changed, but gave the impression it would be a waste of time.

A public information day is being held by Scottish Power Renewables in An Talla on Monday, July 28, at which officials of the power company are expected to produce visuals of the impact of the windfarm on the sea and landscapes of Tiree.

Regarding The Array

letters to editor

I am writing this to express my concern at the way in which the proposed Tiree Array is being forced through the consenting process. It alarms me that Scottish Power Renewables want to get consent to develop their project before they actually release the details of what they are planning. I find it hard to believe that they have got as far as they have with their research and planning without being able to give us the least bit of information on what they are going to do. The “Argyll Array Project Update No8-May 2011” only reinforces the point that they are intent in keeping us in the dark until they get consent.

I find it strange that the government would even consider giving them consent without having detailed plans from them. How can individuals, group etc make any sort of informed decision without even the most basic facts. I have spoken to a lot of people who are undecided about the project and will make their minds up when they have some more facts. The harsh reality is that there will be no facts until Scottish Power Renewables have got their consent and by that time your views will count for nada. The time to make your mind up is now before it is too late, and in light of the fact that they are not disclosing any information you have to say no. It is up to us to force the hand of this huge multinational company by saying no now and force them to come clean as to what they have got planned.

When you look at the groups that make up the master planning process you have to question some of the motives and who is actually going to be there to look after the interests of Tiree and surrounding areas. It is obvious how SPR want the planning to go, least amount of cost and hassle to them. Highlands and Islands Enterprise have poured millions and millions of pounds into the turbine factory in Campbelltown. Argyll and Bute council have invested a reported £12 million into Campelltown harbour to make the turbine factory. The Crown Estates are the body that will be taking the money for effectively renting out the sea bed to the developer and are set to make millions from wind farms.

Scottish Natural Heritage have indicated in a document on offshore wind farms that they believe wind farms should be at least 35km offshore to reduce the visual impact on Scotland’s pristine seascapes, however SPR and other developers have ignored this advise and carry on regardless. So that leaves the Trust to represent the views of the people of Tiree. No disrespect to the Trust but in light of the bodies they are up against their voice will be lost at the negotiating table.

I would be very grateful if SPR could clarify what the possible implications of the Argyll Array would be on public services. In earlier scoping documents they stated that they did not intend to invest any money in schools, medical facilities or roads on Tiree as this was the responsibilty of local government. So would it be fair to assume therefore that the Array will have a negitive effect on public services?

It has also been reported that if SPR were forced into paying a levy on generated power this money would by default be paid to Argyll and Bute council. How much of this money would filter its way down to public services on Tiree and how much get swallowed up by A+B’s budget deficit? It would be very helpful if SPR could clear up this issue before any more rumours start.

Now is the time to say no. If we wait for any clear facts and information from SPR until we take a stance it will be far too late. Until they have set promises in stone we as a community have to say no. If the Array is going to go ahead we can only maximise any compensation by fighting. Remember there is a big difference between compensation and benefit and until SPR can prove otherwise this development is not going to bring any benefits to the island.

Adam Milne, Crossapol, Tiree


Hannah Brimelow’s recent letter about the Tiree Array offers wise advice from someone who knows at first hand how things work in the world of high finance and giant corporations.

As she points out, while the island is mulling over promises from Iberdrola, there are deals being done and consents being pursued. Once consent is granted, there will be no practical way to stop the developers from ditching those promises and riding roughshod over the island’s wishes.

So the message from Hannah is that there is effectively only one way for Tiree to have any control or influence over what will happen to it, and that is by coming out in opposition to the granting of consent. Without that opposition the island has no worthwhile authority to make demands.

Whether for or against the Array, I expect most of us would want to force Iberdrola to put the island’s best interests up there alongside its own corporate profit. If we think that they are doing that already, I fear we may be mistaken.

Peter Isdell-Carpenter, Milton.


Dear ma’am
The No Tiree Array (NTA ) Group is formalising its membership, and has drawn up its Constitution. This is essential to take NTA forward as a consultee within the Licensing and Consenting Process. For full details go to www.no-tiree-array.org.uk , then click on “Constitution” in the main Menu.

The membership donation is £1.00 . To make this donation via the website simply click on the ” Paypal Donation ” button, and follow the instructions. You do not require a PayPal account to process this payment.

For those without internet access and/or would prefer to make a donation by cheque then please do so by making your cheque payable to:- No Tiree Array and send it to me at the address below.

NTA has a provision in the Constitution for “sympathisers ” who for all sort of reasons may not wish to become a member but wish to register their support. NTA requests that where there is more than one potential member in the same household, that they make separate donations. That way NTA will be able to keep an accurate membership list.

NTA has, to date, been funded by its founding core members. Your donations will , amongst other initiatives,allow NTA to produce a quarterly newsletter, and upgrade its website. We look forward to your support of NTA .

Yours faithfully, Robert Trythall , Aird, Cornaigmore

Argyll Array Project Update – April 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logo

Community Information Day

The Project Team will be holding a Community information Day in June to update Tiree on developments in the project. Members of the Project Team will be available during the day to answer any questions people may have and to hear their views.

An important feature of the day will be photomontages of the project. Photomontages are large computer generated pictures of the way the wind farm may look from viewing points on Tiree. We would hope to have 3 photomontages available. These will be left on public display on the island for those not able to attend the Information Day. Additional photomontages will produced at a later stage to form the formal landscape and visual assessment chapter of the planning application.

We will be consulting the public later this year about the viewing points for the formal planning photomontages. The main purpose of the June photomontages is to provide a starter point for consultation. Should similar viewing points be used for the planning application or should they be different? The date and venue of the Information Day are not yet finalized but will be fixed in the very near future.

Wave Buoy Planning Application

The public notice for this planning application was in last week’s Tirisdeach. The application itself is available for public inspection at the Area Office.

The application is for permission to site four wave rider buoys out at sea, at various points within the area of the proposed wind farm. The buoys would be fitted with GPS tracker or similar, to transmit their locations on a continuous basis and warn of displacement. Each buoy would probably be spherical, possibly elliptical with a maximum width of approximately 1.5m.

The buoys would be equipped with a high intensity navigation warning light and would be deployed for an initial period of 12 months. A 250 metre clearance distance for vessels and gear has been requested at each of the deployment sites to avoid the risk of fouling. The buoys would record the height and frequency of waves, atmospheric pressure and air temperature within the zone. This information could provide useful information for the environmental assessment (e.g. to assess impacts on wave regime) and logistic strategies (e.g. construction programmes). The application has been made to the planning authority for works at sea, which is Marine Scotland. Argyll and Bute Council do not issue consents for works at sea.

There will be more information in future updates on what Marine Scotland is and what it does.

Health Impact Assessment

SPR has commenced a Health Impact Assessment Scoping exercise. This work will investigate the merits of carrying out a Health Impact Assessment on the project and highlight topics which would be useful to cover in any Assessment.

It is hoped that this work can tie in with the work for which the Scottish Public Health Network has allocated monies to Tiree.

Contracts

SPR will shortly be placing a contract for Lead Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Consultancy. The Lead EIA Consultants will be responsible for undertaking the EIA on the project, including the Socio Economic Impact Assessment and visualisations.

SPR are also currently tendering for a number of other important contracts including preliminary grid route selection and navigation assessment consultants.

Monthly bird and marine mammal surveys continue on the site.

Future Updates

  • Background to Marine Scotland
  • Date and venue for Community Information Day in June
  • Information on erection of a land met mast to measure wind
  • Results of the Argyll Array Questionnaire conducted last year

Questions or comments

If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact Donnie Campbell, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. donnie@argyllarray.com

A little councelling

notes

IN JULY 2010 TCB WROTE TO A&B COUNCIL RAISING VARIOUS MATTERS THAT WERE BEING DISCUSSED ON THE ISLAND. FOLLOWING IS A COPY OF THE ORIGINAL LETTER AND THE COUNCIL’S RESPONSE.

Dear Mrs Loudon,
As there is currently no Community Council on the Island of Tiree many of the normal issues regarding the provision of Council services falling within your remit fail to receive the attention they would otherwise expect.

As Tiree Community Business Limited are in regular contact with the public through both our office and newsletter, we frequently receive representations on some of these matters which would otherwise normally be dealt with by a Community Council.

Of immediate concern to the public at this time are the following issues: White statutory road markings, Statutory Road signs faded or missing, Cattle grids that are full of weeds, Missing passing place signs, Weed encroachment in road centres.

These points are of course in addition to the ongoing concerns of the quality of road surfaces on the Island. We trust that you will not object to us bringing these matters to your attention as we were unsure, following the recent Council re-organisation, who’s responsibility the Roads networks is.

Directors, Tiree Community Business Limited

COUNCIL RESPONSE FROM SALLY LOUDEN ON BEHALF OF SANDY MACTAGGART

To Directors, TCB I refer to your email of 1 July(2010) and the various issues raised therein.

It is essential that, when planning roads-related maintenance works on the island, our programme of works takes due cognisance of the limited available budget. With regard to the concerns raised by islanders, I would comment as follows:-

  • Road markings – We will arrange to enhance white lines at those junctions which we consider to represent a safety-related problem.
  • Road signs – We are carrying out a ‘rolling programme’ of sign renewal; this work will be carried out annually as budgets permit. Signs will be renewed on a priority basis – defined by actual condition and importance of the sign.
  • Cattle grids – I can confirm that cleaning of cattle grids will be carried out over the summer months.
  • Passing place signs – As per sign replacement, new passing place signs will be installed as part of the rolling programme.
  • Weed encroachment in road centres – In the past we have found that the act of removing weeds from road centres actually causes more harm than good i.e. killing and scraping weeds from the road centre can actually cause damage to the road surface. We will carry this operation out, normally, prior to road resurfacing works. Nevertheless, the local roads inspector will have a look at this problem on his next visit to the island.
  • Quality of road surface – I am aware that surfacing work was carried out during the last financial year following damage which could be directly attributed to erection of the wind turbine. I can confirm that the jet patching machine has been sent to Tiree this week to carry out patching works on island roads. However, in general, given the relatively light traffic levels on the island, we believe that roads are fit for purpose.

I must thank you for bringing the above concerns to my attention. If you are agreeable, I will arrange for a representative from Roads and Amenity Services to call in and discuss roads-related issues with you on their next visit to the island.

In the meantime, if you have any pressing issues requiring attention please feel free to contact Stewart Clark (Contracts Manager on 01546 604893) or Graham Stone (Technical Officer on 01631 563264).

AT A TCB DIRECTORS MEETING IN DECEMBER THESE COMMUNICATIONS WERE DISCUSSED. IT WAS FELT THAT A NUMBER OF ISSUES WERE STILL OUTSTANDING SO ANOTHER E-MAIL WAS SENT………

Dear Mr Mactaggart

Further to your email of 9th July 2010 in which you respond to a series of concerns raised with you by Tiree Community Business Limited regarding the quality of the roads on Tiree.

The Directors note that no substantive work or remedial action has taken place on any of the action points promised within your email copied to you below.

While we realise that the Council Revenue Budget is reducing year on year, the deterioration of the road network is now causing serious concern. Additionally, it would be interesting to know the overall roads/repair/maintenance revenue budget for Oban Lorn and the Isles and specifically for Tiree. Would you please re-visit the action points contained within your email below and thereafter advise on what action you propose to take. Look forward to hearing from you.

Directors, TCB

THE COUNCILS RESPONSE WILL BE PRINTED IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF AN TIRISDEACH

Tiree’s new police officer

Tiree’s resident population increased by two recently with the arrival of Stephen Tanner and his partner, Lorna MacArthur.

Stephen has been appointed Tiree’s resident police officer, a position which has been unfilled since the departure of Kevin at the end of last year.

Stephen has seventeen years service in the police force, both as a uniformed Officer in Paisley and more recently as a Surveillance Officer in the CID based at Pitt Street, Glasgow. He was born and brought up in Kilwinning, Ayrshire and moved to Renfrew when he joined the police in 1992.
He has moved here from Erskine, where for the last eleven years he and Lorna have been spending their time doing up their house.

The couple are no strangers to the island, having been here numerous times in the past for holidays and to visit members of Lorna’s family. One of the reasons they have moved here is because of the way of life on the Island and they are looking forward to the challenges that Island life brings and to joining in with the community.

Stephen enjoys walking and running and he and Lorna have two Jack Russell dogs which will get plenty of exercise in the coming months exploring the Island.

PC Tanner is keen to develop links with the public and aims to introduce himself to everyone over the next few weeks.

Christmas Lunch

Members of Tiree’s community support network lunch club enjoyed their annual Christmas Lunch with a delicious three course meal at the Lodge Hotel on Wednesday 16th December.

The occasion also marked the birthday celebrations of lunch club member Cathy MacNeill.


Many thanks to Fiona Macphail and her staff for their continued support of the Lunch Club throughout the year.

Fire Chief Visit to Tiree Promises Results

firemen

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.

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