Island information

Easdale Medical Practice

Please note that the Surgery will be

CLOSED

from 12.00 noon on Tuesday 15th November

to

4.00pm on Wednesday 16th November

Only emergencies can be seen during this time.

In the event of an emergency, ‘phone the usual surgery number (300223) for advice.

If you will need repeat prescriptions around then, please order them in good time.

The Surgery will be closed while a new computer system is being installed

and therefore no patient records can be accessed or prescriptions issued.

Fingers and toes crossed that the new system operates smoothly and without any glitches!

And now for some good news!

Ruth & Dughall at No. 55 started doing bed and breakfast about six weeks ago and immediately got off to a flying start.

easdale-bb

They raise a flag on the flagpole to celebrate a visitor’s country of origin, and over the weeks the flags of all nations have been fluttering in the breeze – and occasionally flapping furiously in a Force 8!

Dughall’s full Scottish breakfasts, accompanied by Ruth’s homemade bread, have already become legendary across the globe. On Stone Skimming weekend 12 guests were regaled with heaped plates of bacon, eggs, tomato, mushrooms and tattie scones, to fortify themselves for the rigours of the day ahead.

Rooms are sometimes available at short notice, but advance booking is definitely a good plan. Check out their website HERE for booking info, and for a link to their Facebook page with up-to-date snippets of news.

Easdale weather!

easdale-rainbowPlease check the local weather forecasts if you’re planning to travel to Easdale from far afield – or even from quite close at hand – because the weather here can be very different from that in Oban … or even in Balvicar!

Have a look at “Weather Watch” on our Handy Info page.

This evening was gorgeous, with the horizontal rain and Force eights died down, and a beautiful rainbow filling the sky!

 

 

Ferry Information

The winter ferry timetable commences on

SUNDAY 20th OCTOBER 2013

 

ASP Ship Management (the company who have taken over the ferry operation on behalf of Argyll & Bute Council) have issued a notice to passengers, and a link is given below so that all are aware of the rule now in force:

Passenger Notice

 

Following a spate of incidents unpleasantly targetting one of our ferrymen, Argyll & Bute Council have re-issued their notice indicating what sort of actions and behaviour cannot be tolerated towards their employees. It is very sad that this has been necessary, because our ferrymen are our friends and neighbours, and we rely on them totally for the excellent service they so willingly give. Click on the link below to read the notice:

Unacceptable Actions

Up comes the Stone Skimming … and here we go again …

As is plastered all over the national press, Eilean Eisdeal directors have recently had discussions with island owner Jonathan Feigenbaum regarding the forthcoming Stone Skimming event – at which, we hear on the ever-fertile island grapevine, Eilean Eisdeal were represented by a Very Eminent Legal Representative.

In case you haven’t already seen the extensive press coverage, we reproduce it below for your interest.

Firstly, the Press & Journal, who so gallantly stepped into the breach last year to “save” the Stone Skimming event:

Now … at least they reported correctly on what the Residents’ Association is undertaking. What a pity, however, that their front page photograph, captioned “Jonathan Feigenbaum: island owner” actually showed Jonathan’s father Clive, who deceased some years ago.

And now, the respected Daily Express has this to say:

 Global sponsorship?? Excuse me?? This is Easdale Island, not snooker championships in the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield!

And the even more respected Times newspaper reported as follows:

 One resident has responded toThe Timesarticle and has copied us in as follows:

Sir,
 
As a resident of Easdale Island, I would like to set the record straight regarding your article “Fee could sink stone skimmers” (August 22, 2013).
 
Firstly, it is unlikely in the extreme that a £1,000 fee would cause the event to “sink without trace” given that last year alone it raised £9,500 for the organisers’ coffers, and over the last five years has raised some £40,000 in total.
 
Secondly, Easdale residents have not “reacted angrily to the demands of the landowner”. Most residents of my acquaintance (and, as there are only 45 of us, I can fairly say that I know them all) are either completely unmoved by the landowner’s request for a fee, or feel that he is perfectly within his rights to make a charge for the use of his own land. The only “angry reactions” have come from the directors of Eilean Eisdeal, the event’s organisers, to whom the landowner’s request should have come as no surprise.
 
Thirdly, the “benefactor” who “came to the rescue” last year was not anonymous. It was the Aberdeen-based newspaper The Press & Journal, which made a very big splash indeed about “saving” the Stone Skimming. There was an anonymous benefactor in the shape of an individual who, at the last minute, organised and paid for Public Liability Insurance for the event, which Eilean Eisdeal had claimed to Mr. Feigenbaum was already fully in place, but had declined to exhibit to him.
 
Fourthly, locals do not need to “struggle to see how the money has been invested”. They know full well that Mr. Feigenbaum donated the £1,000 to the Easdale Island Residents’ & Property Owners’ Association (EIRPOA), with the intention that it be used to fund something of benefit to the whole island. Being a democratic organisation, EIRPOA consulted its members, and the Slate Islands Heritage Trust, and Mr. Feigenbaum himself on how that money should be spent. From those consultations the clearing of overgrown paths, the replacement of broken fencing and the restoration of steps up to the island’s lookout point emerged as top priorities. In conjunction with the Slate Islands Heritage Trust, EIRPOA set up a ring-fenced Special Project Account, both organisations adding a little from their own funds to the account. One thousand pounds is not a great deal of money, so expenditure needs to be prudently managed, and the clearing of paths is under way with the assistance of volunteer labour, conserving funds for the parts of the project which will require outlay for materials and labour. The aforementioned facts are well known to the locals, including to the two directors of Eilean Eisdeal who attended EIRPOA’s AGM at which a full report was given.
 
Perhaps, instead of making a lot of fuss about what has happened to £1,000, the directors of Eilean Eisdeal should be accounting for what has happened to £9,500. That is something that locals do, indeed, “struggle to see”.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
An Easdale Island Resident
 
The author of the above response doubts that it will be published because it tells the (quite peaceful) truth, whereas what the papers want is sensationalistic “rows” between island residents, and between residents and the landowner.
 
As a footnote, we also hear that on the day of the Stone Skimming (29th September) it seems that Eilean Eisdeal intend to close the road from Ellenabeich to Balvicar to local traffic in order to accommodate the flood of Stone Skimming participants.
 
Hey? What about my breakfast newspaper and croissant? Nobody seems to be thinking about that.

Emergency Services Tabletop Exercise

Islanders will no doubt be aware that, over a good number of years, the Easdale Island Residents’ & Property Owners’ Association (EIRPOA) has been working with our GP and the emergency services to try to establish definite, consistent and safe protocols for the evacuation of medical cases from the island.

 Following two medical incidents, in November 2011 and May 2012, during which every supposedly “established” protocol was broken, Cllr. Elaine Robertson contacted Carol Keeley (A&BC Civil Contingencies Manager) with a view to setting up an exercise to bring members of all the emergency services together around the table to co-ordinate their protocols for responses to the island.

 As you may imagine, it was very difficult to arrange a date suitable for everyone, but the exercise eventually took place in the island hall on 15th January this year, with nearly 30 people present. Carol has just produced a report from this exercise, and a copy has been uploaded HERE for your information.

Hard copies are also available in the ferryshed.

Stone skimming goes ahead!

This afternoon both Easdale People and ForArgyll received word that Eilean Eisdeal directors had at last seen sense and produced their Public Liability Insurance, enabling them to hold the Stone Skimming contest. The insurance certificate has been passed on to Jonathan Feigenbaum’s solicitor, who is making sure it is legally watertight.

This whole stushie could have been avoided if the Chair of the charity, Keren Cafferty, had engaged in dialogue with Jonathan last April, when he first made his request to see the Public Liability Insurance – as any decent landowner would need to do when a large scale festival is to be held on their land. The facts in this matter are that Cafferty and the other directors chose not to respond to Mr Feigenbaum’s approaches until September 6th, saying that they had Public Liability Insurance but “declined” to show him a copy. He was then legally obliged to advise them that, without seeing the document, the event could not go ahead.

Also in April of this year Mr. Feigenbaum advised the Charity that he requested a small fee for staging the event, and that that money was to be spent in a way that would benefit all of the island residents. Again, he received no response. But to that end this afternoon he was in contact with the Residents’ Association with regard to engaging its members as to the best way that fee could be spent.

Since its inception in 1997 the charity Eilean Eisdeal [EE] has received more than £ 1.2 million of public money – an amount that equates to approximately £24,000 per adult full-time resident! This has come from, among other funders, the Big Lottery, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Land Fund. These funds have been spent on capital projects like the hall, the harbour and buying the museum – all well and good, should islanders actually have benefitted from them. But a great deal of EE’s money may have been used to pay, for example,  John Campbell QC to fight against the wishes of the majority of the island residents in the Local Plan consultation; and architects to draw up plans for developments that islanders have said they don’t want; and a planning consultant to propose developments that islanders haven’t been asked whether they want or not.

 We’ve been unable to find out exactly how much EE has spent in this way, as the charity is able to hide the full details because it is only legally required to submit “abridged” accounts. So even its members are not told!

In the last two years EE’s directors could have spent thousands of pounds trying to obtain planning permission  for a wind turbine on this tiny island, that – as you’ll remember – over half of the population formally objected too. A serious waste of community money; money which is supposed to be used for the benefit of the community and NOT to fight against its wishes.

This story has had great interest both in the national media and on this website. We’ve had thousands of extra views in the last 2 days so keep viewing and we’ll update you as to how the community spend the money. 

Open letter from Jonathan Feigenbaum

Jonathan Feigenbaum, Easdale Island’s owner, has requested us to post the following open letter to all residents and property owners:

 

16 September 2012

OPEN LETTER TO ALL RESIDENTS & PROPERTY OWNERS ON EASDALE ISLAND

 

It is with deep regret that I am taking this opportunity to write to everyone with an interest in Easdale Island, concerning the forthcoming planned World Stone Skimming Championships, which were meant to take place on 23 September 2012.

Contact was made with Eilean Eisdeal and Keren Cafferty in her capacity as Chair back in April, this was plenty of notice to resolve the issues Easdale Island Company Limited had with this event being staged on its land.

The most important issue was adequate Public Liability Insurance cover that protected all parties including Easdale Island Company Limited, as it was its land being used. This request was ignored until 6 September 2012 when Keren Cafferty sent our Solicitor an email saying they are “fully insured” but the insurance “document is not public, and we decline to exhibit it to Mr Feigenbaum”.

Furthermore, Easdale Island Company Ltd asked for a nominal fee to be paid for use of the land over the Stone Skimming Event, this was a nominal amount in relation to the proceeds raised by Eilean Eisdeal and the various commercial businesses on the Island that gain from the Event. It was made clear that any revenue generated would be used to generally improve the Island, again this request was refused. The offer of leasing the area used in the Stone Skimming event was also offered by Easdale Island Company, therefore securing this event for Eilean Eisdeal for the future, again this was ignored.

It was with a heavy heart but as you can see I had no real choice to make it clear to Eilean Eisdeal and its Directors that permission to use any company land or asset has been refused for any organisation, individual or group of individuals, for the purpose of conducting any stone skimming or indeed any event. Should it be that the event does indeed take place and unauthorised use is made of Easdale Island Company Limited land or assets then those responsible will face the legal consequences of such conduct.

Easdale Island Company Limited has always tried to support the endeavours of all the Islanders and various interest groups, and I believe this is the first ever time that we have had to take such action. This action was unavoidable due to the general mismanagement of this event by Eilean Eisdeal.

Yours Sincerely,

Jonathan Feigenbaum

For Easdale Island Company Limited

Email: EasdaleIsland@aol.com

Eilean Eisdeal Developments

Here we go again!

As the directors of Eilean Eisdeal [EE] have deliberately not consulted the community on their plans for our island, it is down to your online community magazine to do so.

Sometime ago EE engaged the services of Suzanne McIntosh, a ‘planning consultant’, to – and we can only hazard a guess – ‘help’ them with their future development plans.  Now, on Suzanne”s blurb site she says,  “I enjoy pushing the boundaries of planning and finding new ways to tackle old problems, especially in appeals and enforcements”. This sounds like the perfect chunky bunny EE would employ. And where do you think they came across her? I’ll leave that one for a little later!

Recently Suzanne and Keren Cafferty, the chair of EE, had a lovely stroll around Easdale Island with a representative from Historic Scotland to discuss master planning and possible future developments, whatever they may be. So … and this is a rhetorical question because you already know the answer … when would we get to know about the plans? When we see the planning application advertised of course, and not before!

In March 2010, during the consultation process for the next Local Development Plan [LDP], EE made submissions, that we had to obtain under the Freedom of Information Act, requesting land to be made available for huge developments on the island, including a hostel, social housing and workshops, all in our name and without consulting the  island residents and property owners.  “This is Eileen Eisdeal’s Master plan … just don’t tell anyone!!” 

Their grandiose claim for the “necessity” for these developments was that: The sustainability of the Easdale Island community has an important role to sustain the wider community of Argyll and Bute.”

Fortunately some residents “highlighted”  their secret Master plan and as a result none of their submissions made it in to the LDP, so now the only course of action open to them is to challenge the LDP.

Yes, they have been there before and they lost … badly. A resounding defeat for EE, Mike MacKenzie and John Campbell QC who lead the challenge. In fact the Reporter who heard the challenge to the LDP at the Public Inquiry said in his findings: ” … we do not accept that these objectors speak for “the people of Easdale”; we find that they represent an identifiable community of self interest and their views on the way forward are not shared by some other “full” and “part-time” residents of the island. … We can also understand that the release of large areas of land may assist in securing certain private aspirations; but our concern must be whether the achievement of these aspirations would be co-terminus with the public interest.”

Which probably says it all.

Oh yes, before I forget, Suzanne McIntosh sits on the Scottish Parliament’s cross party group on Architecture and the Built Environment – as does Mike MacKenzie MSP. That wasn’t difficult to fathom. We knew there would be some input and control from MacKenzie. His hand is never far from the tiller of control and the manipulation of the directors of EE .

Once again this self styled development group is using charitable funds to further their development aims against the wishes of the community that they claim to represent ; but it is clear to all outside parties – including OSCR, the Charities Regulator, and the planning department of Argyll and Bute Council – that they don’t. Keren Cafferty, as chair of this charity, is using its money to pay a planning consultant to push forward projects  that will directly benefit her business on the island, aided and abetted by Mike MacKenzie MSP. There are very serious conflicts of interest here, blatantly obvious for all to see. 

We’ll keep you updated as and when we receive any info.

The editor

 

Free Range Dogs

Free range chickens are no doubt a good thing, but free range dogs can pose something of a problem, especially when there are free range kiddies about as well. Youngsters can find it very frightening when dogs rush enthusiastically at them, or start growling and fighting – even if it is only in play. And having a series of dogs romping through the carefully nurtured plants in your back garden is less than pleasant, especially if they bare their teeth territorially when you emerge to shoo them away. Not to mention the “presents” that might adhere to your bare fingers when you’re weeding – or to a baby’s bare fingers as he explores what soil tastes like. Yuck!!

Parents – and others – who have mentioned this to the Editorial Team would like to issue a plea through our pages that residents and visitors ensure their dogs are at least kept in sight and supervised. Dogs of a “volatile” temperament would perhaps best be kept on a leash; though luckily, resident dogs are more likely to lick you to bits than chew you!

And, most importantly, of course: