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One of the councillors behind the petition for a year-round ferry service from Campbeltown to Ardrossan insists it should not be considered as an alternative or compromise to a permanent solution at the Rest and Be Thankful.
Councillor Donald Kelly, who submitted the petition to the Scottish Parliament along with fellow Argyll First councillor Dougie Philand, said that any ferry service would instead give people another option in terms of travel to and from Kintyre.
He added that he fully supported the Argyll business leaders who are campaigning for a permanent solution to the ongoing landslip issues at the Rest and Be Thankful by May 2024, and that the ferry petition is one of the first steps in a lengthy process.
Councillor Kelly said: ‘We are asking the Scottish Government to consider procuring a full-time ferry service, with the capacity to take both freight and passengers and have RET – cost effective service in terms of pricing – applied to it.
‘Having been made aware by consultants that various companies have vessels which would meet the necessary requirements of this proposal, we are asking that the net is cast long and wide in terms of any potential tendering process.
‘Before getting to this stage, we have to go through the following steps, with all the boxes being ticked to allow progress to be made: firstly, we required the Parliamentary Petitions Committee to accept our petition as being credible and meeting the criteria; secondly, we require the public and businesses to show their support by signing the petition; thirdly, the Parliamentary Petitions Committee will meet to discuss the petition and take any necessary evidence to support the introduction of the service; fourthly, if everything goes to plan, this would be followed by a recommendation from the committee to the government, who would then instruct a STAG [Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance] appraisal to be carried out.
‘Depending on the result of the appraisal and the government’s response, we would be hopeful that an offer to tender would be issued for the route.
‘We feel that it is important to emphasise that this is at the very early stages in a process which could take quite a considerable time to reach a conclusion.’
Members of the public, business owners and community groups have until March 17 to sign the petition, which can be accessed on the following link: www.parliament.scot/gettinginvolved/petitions/campbeltownadrossanferry