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One of the councillors behind the petition calling for a year-round ferry service from Campbeltown to Ardrossan is appealing to all business owners and community groups, as well as members of the public, regardless of their political beliefs, to support the ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’.
Councillor Donald Kelly and fellow Argyll First councillor Dougie Philand submitted the petition to the Scottish Parliament in response to the consistent A83 road closures caused by landslips at the Rest and Be Thankful, and the suggested 10-year timescale for a permanent solution.
The document calls for a reliable and affordable ferry service, with road equivalent tariff applied to it, capable of carrying freight, to be introduced from Kintyre to the East Ayrshire coast, all-year round.
‘If we want to make this service become a reality, it’s vitally important that all businesses, both large and small, as well as community groups and the general public
sign the petition,’ Councillor Kelly told the Courier. ‘This is the best opportunity we have had in my 20 years as a local councillor to make the case for a full-time ferry service.
‘It’s imperative that we take what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and present positive evidence to the government in terms of the number of people and businesses that are willing to support the introduction of this service.’
Councillor Kelly stressed that the campaign is a community issue rather than a political issue, and that as many people as possible need to pull together to give the campaign the best chance of being successful.
He added that he has written to all MSPs representing Argyll and Bute to ask for their support.
The campaign has already been supported by the Campbeltown Ferry Committee, chaired by South Kintyre councillor John Armour, which promotes the Campbeltown-to-Ardrossan summer ferry service.
In a statement, the ferry committee said: ‘We are happy to support this petition. It mirrors what the Campbeltown Ferry Committee has been aiming for in discussions with Transport Scotland and government officials over the last few years, including the committee delegation that met with the then Transport Minister Derek Mackay to put the case – successfully – for a permanent summer service.
‘Our delegates to the twice yearly Clyde Ferry Stakeholders Group meetings – Anne Horn, Jim Martin and John Armour – at the most recent meeting on December 7, put the question to Transport Scotland officials that they do go and look at a service that would help alleviate the issues that the closure of the Rest and Be Thankful brings.
‘While we would like to see this all-year round service in place as soon as possible, we appreciate that due to the area of the New Quay required for timber storage and for the storage of incoming renewables for Kintyre wind farms, some upgrading of the current harbour infrastructure would be required. However, we feel that some temporary measure needs to be looked at which could be put in place to accommodate commercial freight and allow current operations to continue as normal until such an upgrade could commence.
‘All agencies concerned should be able to come together to reach a workable solution. We would ask you all to support and sign the petition.’
Members of the public, business owners and community groups have until March 10 to sign the petition, which can be accessed on the following link: www.parliament.scot/gettinginvolved/petitions/campbeltownadrossanferry