Archive for July 2011

Editorial comment

Germanocean.

Mike Mackenzie was asked for a comment after losing his court case against Walton Electrical, he chose to hide behind the SNP press office and not issue a statement.

The SNP press office put out the following statement. ” After being elected to Holyrood on May the 5th Mr Mackenzie decided to stand down as a director of Mike Mackenzie Builders Ltd and concentrate on his political career and serving the people of Argyll”

Now, we all know that is complete and utter rubbish. Why would anyone with a thriving business stand down as a director and give away all his shares?

It is clear to the good people of Easdale and the wider world that Mike Mackenzie needs to, and is trying to, put as much distance between himself and his corrupt past as possible. He knows and has been advised that it has the ability to sink his political aspirations.

It is also very clear to me that Mike Mackenzie set out to defraud Lorne Walton of the money he owed him and has no intention even now of paying him. So Mr Mackenzie, come on, for the sake of your political career, do the decent thing, try to act like a upstanding and straight MSP, and pay Lorne what you owe him. All the small businesses of Argyll are watching and waiting!

John Donne

No man is an island.

Likewise, no island is just one man. When we looking for West coast property we were warned off Easdale as ‘it has a dreadful atmosphere’. When we arrived the first conversation was with someone who darkly warned us against ‘associating with certain people’. Our solicitor said she would refuse to allow us to buy certain properties as the word in Oban surveying circles was that some were built on shingle which a winter storm accompanied by a scouring tide could soon whip away. At least half the residents on Easdale when we arrived have since moved off, and I now hear that ten homes are up for sale. As Easdale has only about 40 ‘permanent’ residents one is entitled to ask how long will it be before history repeats itself and, as with Hirta (St Kilda), the remainder ask to be taken off and housed elsewhere? One reason to leave is the absence of any official 24/7 emergency medical evacuation procedures. To my certain knowledge the two local MSPs have now been written to twice, but to no effect or even promise of investigation and action. What hope is there for Easdale when developments the islanders aren’t consulted about, and don’t want, proceed, while those that are wanted are ignored? Truly, to caring and informed outsiders, Easdale is rapidly degenerating into a suitable case for treatment.

Tim Flinn

Wind turbine refusal appealed

Eilean Eisdeal have appealed to the Scottish Government against Argyll & Bute Council’s refusal of their planning application for a wind turbine on the island. The details of the Appeal can be found HERE.

Document 5 “Green Streets Report by Solar and Wind applications” makes arresting reading. Link to it HERE.

According to the recent report on the Green Streets projects published by the INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH, Eilean Eisdeal is stated to be a “community-led (bottom-up)” organisation. One must therefore ask why they have felt it necessary to engage the services of John Campbell QC as their agent to handle the Appeal.

A Reporter has yet to be appointed, but we have been advised that any objections/representations sent to A&BC will be forwarded to the DPEA (Directorate for Planning & Environmental Appeals) and taken into consideration by the Reporter when deciding the Appeal. All those who sent in representations should receive a letter from the planning authority advising that an Appeal has been lodged and further representations may be made within 14 days.

Walton Electrical v Mackenzie Builders Ltd

Update 20th July 2011

Today Sheriff Douglas Small gave Walton Electrical a legal decree and costs against Mike Mackenzie Builders Ltd [now known as EB Joinery & Building Ltd].

At the last hearing on 28th June Lorne Walton of Walton Electical knew that he had won the case and had expected by now to have received payment from Mike Mackenzie MSP of the £4,073.89, but he hadn’t received any contact from Mike Mackenzie or his solicitors with a view to paying. Yesterday 20th July, the case was formally awarded to Mr Walton, Mr Walton’s legal  expenses  are to be met by Mike Mackenzie and a date of the 12th August has been set for the amount to be decided. On leaving the court I spoke with Lorne Walton and he told me that even with this court judgement against Mike Mackenzie MSP he still had grave concerns that he will never see a penny of the money he is owed. As he pointed out in court, since May 5th this year when Mackenzie got elevated to Holyrood he has tried to distance himself from his business by resigning as a director and, even worse, changing the company name and address. Mr Walton also said he finds it hard to believe how the SNP government can still support one of their MSPs when he is prepared to behave in this way.

Easdale people will interviewing Lorne Walton to get the full story in due course.

Meanwhile, see today’s Press & Journal www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2361891, tomorrow’s Daily Express and next week’s Oban Times.

Electrifying

Dear neighbours,

Here is an update on the self-styled community group’s project to electrify the pirate ship in the children’s playpark (see earlier post “Eilean Eisdeal meets Cap’n Jack Sparrow”). We publish the picture of the proposal again, for interest and accuracy.

You will note that solar panels are to be placed on the roof to power lights in tubs of coloured water, and generated electricity is to be used to power motion sensors which would activate lights and ghostly sounds. An aeolian harp will be activated by our powerful winds.

But the intention to place a wind turbine with a rotor diameter of 1m on top of the “mast” must surely rank as one of the most irresponsible proposals ever?

This type of turbine does not have an automatic brake, and when the wind blows fiercely the blades turn ever faster until they tear out of their fixings and are thrown with great force a considerable distance.

The whole proposal would prove to be a constant irritation to islanders and visitors alike; but, more seriously, it would be a source of danger to all, especially the children. An enterprising child could shin up the mast as a dare – with potentially fatal consequences. This proposal introduces both noise and light pollution.

We understand that this proposal requires planning permission. To date none has been applied for, but the wind turbine and some other equipment have already been delivered and are in the hall.

If you have concerns about this proposal please make them known, especially to the planning officer for our area whose email address is:

fiona.scott@argyll-bute.gov.uk

You may also wish to make your views known to the Green Streets “project team” (who we understand are Keren Cafferty, Jan Fraser, Mike MacKenzie and architect Waseem Hussain).

Your opinions matter!

Henry

Green Streets winners announced

The final winners of the Green Streets project – and the recipients of a further £100,000 – were announced earlier this week. They are the Llangttock Green Valleys group from Powys, in Wales. To quote from the press release, “Over the past year and a half the residents of Llangattock have seen solar panels installed at the local school, the village hall become home to an air source heat pump and 43 local homes fit 655 energy efficiency and generation measures including insulation, solar panels, multi-fuel stoves and new efficient boilers.” Impressive achievements! To read more about the group’s varied activities, have a look at the Llangattock Green Valleys WEBSITE.

 

The second report on all the Green Streets projects has now been issued by the Institute of Public Policy Research, which includes the following: “a proposal for a wind turbine on Eilean Eisdeal, resulted  in a highly charged stand-off. The community leaders involved in the latter insisted the objectors to their proposal were in a very small minority from their community; they reported having undertaken a survey and significant engagement with local people in an attempt to prove they had support for their proposals. The objectors accused these community leaders of misrepresenting the community’s wishes.”

Newsroom thinks that the phrase “in an attempt to prove” is particularly telling, and is unaware of the fact that the island has any “community leaders”.

 

You can read the full report HERE.

Safe …

… at last. More than eight weeks after residents contacted the Hydro Board about the lack of security on the sub-station (made obvious by the interference by Eilean Eisdeal’s contractors at the beginning of May), engineers have finally attended and fixed a substantial gate, locks and warning signs. It’s doubtful if they’d have done it yet, but the instigation of a few “complaints procedures” miraculously speeded things up!

However, The Monitoring Box is still there.

Newsroom has heard from a good number of Easdale residents who are unhappy with the idea of their electricity usage being monitored, and who have protested to the Hydro Board but received no response, so we give here the telephone number of the man to contact; Stephen Fletcher, the Hydro Board’s Oban-based Performance Manager can be reached on 01631 569203. 

More photos from Hugh Lorimer

Hugh's aunts Jessie Millar (left) and Molly Millar collecting milk from the mainland. From their dress, the photo seems to have been taken around the turn of the century. Does anyone recognise the building in the background?

 

Aunts Molly and Jessie Millar, with Great Aunt Maggie MacKay seated in front. She looks like a formidable lady, with her man's cap and her firmly clamped clay pipe!