Venue: Council Chamber, Kilmory, Lochgilphead
Contact: Fiona McCallum Tel. No. 01546 604406
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were intimated from Councillors Gordon Chalmers, Robin Currie and Alister McAlister.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Chair introduced himself and invited those present at the meeting to do likewise and then outlined the procedure that would be followed.
Mr Forrester advised that 3 late letters of objection had been received out with the time period allowed by the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 for making objections or representations. The first 2 late objections were received from the Arrochar & Tarbet Community Council and from Simon Lewis of Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. Mr Forrester advised that both of these Objectors had been invited to attend the meeting to explain their reason for the lateness of their objections.
Mr Reppke advised that if the Committee wished to take these late objections into consideration then they would need to adjourn to another day to allow the proper period of notice (14 days) to the Applicant unless the Applicant waived his right to have 14 days to consider these. It was confirmed that neither Objector was in attendance to explain the lateness of their representations.
Mr Forrester also advised of a late objection received from the Passenger Boat Association which had been received less than 14 days since notification of the hearing taking place had been given. He advised that if the Committee wished to take this objection into consideration Members would have to agree to continue consideration of the application to allow the Passenger Boat Association to receive at last 14 days notice of a hearing taking place.
The Chair ruled, and the Committee agreed, that they would not take into consideration either of the 3 late representations on the basis that there appeared to be no reasonable explanation for the late submissions.
The Chair invited the Applicant to speak in support of his application.
Mr Aikman of Silvers Marine, operating under the Trading Name of Loch Lomond Boat Hire spoke to the terms of his application for a Boat Hire operators’ licence to allow him to operate from premises at Tarbet. He referred to his submitted list of vehicles that he wished to use and advised that he felt misunderstood by Objectors. He advised that although the list was extensive it was not his intention to use all of the vehicles at Tarbet and confirmed that the first 3 vehicles on the list would be operating from Balloch and not Tarbet. He advised that it was only his intention to operate 1 – 4 ribs from Tarbet.
The Chair invited the Objector to ask the Applicant questions.
Questions to Applicant
Mr Cordner asked the Applicant if it was his intention to operate self drive boats from Loch Lomond shore and not Tarbet and Mr Aikman replied yes.
Mr Cordner asked the Applicant to confirm how many ribs he intended operating from Tarbet and Mr Aikman confirmed that this would be a maximum of 3.
The Chair then invited the Objector to speak in support of his objection.
Mr Cordner of Cruise Loch Lomond Ltd advised that he had 2 main areas of concern. He referred to Tarbet pier having recently undergone extensive refurbishment and that this had resulted in a loss of a 3rd of its capacity and that there was no capacity for any further commercial activity at Tarbet. He also advised that he had huge concerns regarding ribs sharing the same channel of water as large commercial passenger vehicles up to 60 tonnes in weight, other private vehicles and families. He advised that this was a recreational area for locals and visitors and that to operate ribs from Tarbet pier would not make for a safe environment. He advised that he had asked the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to carry out a risk assessment for ribs and that to date this has not been done. He also referred to the impeccable safety record of the Commercial Boat Operators’ Association. He advised that he was part of a working group looking at byelaws for the area. He queried what instruction or qualifications will determine whether or not a member of the public will be suitably qualified to drive self hire vessels. He referred to the Inversnaid ferry capsizing in 2006 and 3 local fishermen losing their lives in 2008 and advised that both incidents had involved experienced local users. He advised that a great deal of work has been done to build up the tourism sector of Loch Lomond and that he felt that this could be put into jeopardy if self drive vessels and ribs were allowed to operate near a recreational area. He also referred to the Tarbet Visitor Centre being used to operate the Applicant’s activities and questioned the size of the building and whether it was fit for this purpose and did not think this was the right environment to operate self drive vessels and ribs. He also queried the storage of fuel for the boats and advised that a separate licence would be required for this. He referred to the numbers of visitors to Tarbet pier in the peak summer period (150 – 200) and to the lack of car parking available in the area and the restricted access to the pier both for people wishing to cruise and for emergency vehicles. He referred to other Associations he was involved with and that their main aim was to ensure Loch Lomond remained a safe and tranquil location for users. He referred to Lake Windermere Cruises which operate both self drive vessels and cruises and that these activities were operated in different places and not in close proximity to each other. He also referred to Sweeney Cruises in Balloch previously operating both types of activities but that this had ceased due to it being too risky. He advised that there was a danger in having self drive vessels in close proximity to cruises.
The Chair invited the Applicant to ask the Objector questions.
Questions to Objector
Mr Aikman asked Mr Cordner if it was his view that ribs were ... view the full minutes text for item 3.