With the rollout of RET on almost all the CalMac routes, the situation of Dunoon is increasingly fragile.
Last week I went to Skye using the Mallaig to Armadale route. This is a 40 minute journey and the return fare for myself and the car came to £24.40. If you don’t buy tickets in advance for Western Ferries (and you see people paying on board regularly) the return fare for the 20 minute journey is £32.00.
Even at the advance fare rate for Western Ferries, the return fare would be £17.70 so for £6.70 more you can go twice the distance on the Armadale route.
The cost of commercial vehicle to Dunoon is also high. A local business told me last week it had cost £138 for a lorry to come on a one way basis to deliver equipment to him. The driver had been astonished at the cost and indicated they would not be delivering to Dunoon again.
Add to this the unreliability of the passenger only service run by Argyll Ferries which impacts greatly on commuters, we have a very unhappy situation to contend with.
I am not at all sure what the solution is but that is why some of us are working to see if, long term, a fixed link of some kind could be put in place.
Very soon councillors will be asked to take a decision on proceeding with the redevelopment of the Queen’s Hall in Dunoon. The costs will be somewhere north of £8m I suspect and, on its own, a revamped Queen’s Hall will not bring an additional person to the town, either permanently or as visitors. It’s probably the case that this project has to go ahead given where we are with it and the costs incurred to date but is it a wise spend of public funds? Would it be better, for example, to fully complete the redevelopment of Dunoon Pier to make it a working harbour for commercial and leisure use, plus ferry traffic?
I have to say that if all decision making for Dunoon and Cowal was made here, with the involvement of the local community, it would be easier to make the right decisions for our area. As it is, Kilmory rules the roost and it suits many councillors that this remains the case. You might wish to ask why.