The pontoons feasibility study has been long awaited across the Clyde for many months now.
SPT tried to portray it as the panacea for problems with Kilcreggan’s ferry link to Gourock, while the Scottish Government has long been demanding investment in it as a ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure project.
The reality though, is rather different.
The £20,000 study fails to notice that Kilcreggan’s pier was built in the 19th century and is a listed building.
Argyll and Bute Council have so far got away with installing ugly barriers – likened to cattle pens by some passengers – on the historic pier without even asking itself for formal consent.
But it’s hard to imagine that any planners could approve such a huge, ugly structure next to the village’s most iconic structure, and if they did, few locals would share the consultants’ confidence that it will survive the waves and tides on that shore.
Even if all those obstacles could be overcome though, the pontoons would effectively be useless since the study says that building anything at Gourock would be prohibitively expensive.
When Clydelink sailinsg are cancelled because of weather, it is normally strong winds at Gourock that are cited – so if the study’s proposals went ahead, £500,000 of public money would be spent without making the ferry service much more reliable.
The plans for Dunoon have predictably attracted most of the speculation, although since the figure of £2m has regularly been bandied about we can only assume that Kilcreggan would have been included as well.
There is still enormous pressure for a car ferry service to be reinstated at Dunoon, and the Herald has speculated that constituency MSP Mike Russell would be ‘electoral toast’ if he supported pontoons instead.
The Cowal Courier speculated that the pontoons study would be unveiled by Nicola Sturgeon when she visited Dunoon last month, only for the visit to be cancelled because, ironically, ferries were cancelled and roads closed by bad weather.
‘Shovel-ready’? Hardly. Before any more money is wasted, our local and national politicians need to realize that the problem is not our piers, which have been doing service for many decades, but small, light boats which are just not suited to these waters.
To view the feasibility study, clink on the link below: