08.02.2013 - Give up and do nothingControversy is the life-blood of the Letters page of local paper The Buteman. Of course, it takes two (or more) to tango!
Following our email to local Councillors, Scottish Ministers and others reported in last week's paper, suggesting that investment in green energy on Bute would likely benefit the economy the inevitable - and opposite - view has been recorded today.
Mr Tony Burns of The Terrace, Ardbeg has written in to the paper before, charmingly asking 'how far up your Ascog is 74 meters?'. A strange image indeed, and an even stranger one to commit to print in the local paper...
This week, to his credit, he correctly identifies that Bute's days of a mass-tourism based economy are over. As he points out, it really can be cheaper to fly off somewhere than to come to Bute. Mr Burns also has some commendable suggestions about improving broadband speed (not, apparently, a priority for BT and others) and even creating arts spaces. The Listed, derelict former Rothesay Academy now owned by the Bute Estate would make an ideal site for such a venue.
While the thrust of his letter has some good points Mr Burns remains adament that wind energy at Ascog should form no part of the mix on Bute. This is a pity: green energy generation can easily co-exist with other forms of socio-economic activity on the Island.
Mr A Fowler of Wyndham Court, Ardbeg is even more confident that 'dump[ing] monstrosities of wind turbines' on Bute or anywhere else will lead to economic carnage. He is correct to point out that 'it is jobs we need on Bute'. This would certainly seem to be the case, perhaps even more so now that Argyll & Bute Council's budget cuts look like they will affect local employment.
Where we smell a fish it is with Mr Fowler's assertion that it's a 'preposterous proposal' or a load of 'London hot air' to consider building wind farms either on Bute or elsewhere in Scotland.
Wind and renewable energy development is one of the UK's only growth sectors. Since it is growing it is bound to create jobs and various success stories from Scotland and elsewhere have been reported on the BBC News site in recent times.
Development of three wind turbines at Ascog Farm would create or sustain local jobs during the construction phase, would allow further long-term investment in the existing fabric of the farm (which sorely needs it, not much money has been spent on the land or buildings for over 40 years) together with the possibility of opening up new ventures - we have suggested a green-powered skating/curling rink and a micro-brewery as two options (subject to planning!) - that could get a few people out of bed in the morning.
There would also be a significant flow of money from the project to our local partner Towards Zero Carbon Bute who would administer the community investment fund specifically to attempt to create jobs on the Island.
All of this could do something to counter the problems that are probably coming as a result of budget cuts which will reduce council spending in Argyll & Bute by around £6 million per year.
Some Argyll & Bute Councillors, and the Unions, are worried about this prospect.
Support clean, green, wind energy development at Ascog Farm.