Letters to the Editor – February 15, 2012

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READERS have their say on the issues which matter...

Concerns on future of loch

REGARDING the article ‘Council to put loch up for sale’ (Herald, February 8), I am deeply angry and annoyed that the council have decided to sell the loch on the open market.

This only shows that they care very little for the community by putting profit before the needs of the people.

Antermony Loch is well managed by the Caurnie Angling Club and is open to the public with a reasonably priced day ticket.

I fear the sale of the loch on the open market may end up with the new owner turning the loch into another pay-by- the-hour fishery.

They may claim this will bring more jobs and business to the community, but in reality it usually only profits the owner.

Antermony Loch has its own website – antermony.com – which receives over 600,000 hits per year. It has video of how hard members and volunteers have worked over the years to maintain the quality of the loch and its surrounding environment.

Hundreds of people, both public and angling club members from the community, are at present fishing the loch.

The selling of this loch on the open market may result in it being taken out of the hands of the community.

In my view the new owner may put profit first, causing harm to the local wildlife and environment. I also believe that money will be taken away from the area as hundreds of people and families using the loch at present will just go elsewhere. I think the council should either sell the loch to the sitting tenants, who are doing a great job of managing it, or take it back off the market.

From a non-Antermony club member – Bob Malcolm from Bishopbriggs.

Caurnie club has backing

AS a long-time member of the Caurnie Angling Club I am writing regarding the disposal of Antermony Loch by East Dunbartonshire Council.

I am extremely concerned that the ownership of Antermony Loch may be lost by the club and fall into other hands that would be to its detriment. I have been involved in angling journalism and fishery public relations for well over 30 years and in that connection have travelled extensively through Scotland, the rest of the UK and abroad. In that time I have visited a huge number of fisheries so have a pretty wide knowledge as to how they are operated.

As a result I can say quite categorically that Antermony Loch is by far the best run angling club water I have come across. Its committee is utterly dedicated in not only providing excellent fishing for its members, but also meticulous in the stewardship of the loch’s environment. Over the years they have built up a huge bank of knowledge and experience in this field that is invaluable in operating a precious natural resource like this.

If Antermony was to change hands then it is certain that ecologically it would suffer badly as new owners could never hope to maintain the extremely high standard of care demonstrated by the Caurnie Angling Club and this would be tragic.

In an article that appeared in the Herald on January 11, it was stated by a Mr Curtis, who appears keen to take over the management of the loch, that: “We would aim to bring the national casting, European and possibly the World competitions to the loch.”

Over the years I have attended many national, international and European and World fishing related competitions and to run events of anything approaching this magnitude it is absolutely essential that the proper infrastructure exists and it certainly does not at Antermony – for starters just look at the appalling state of the access road – but more importantly the environs of the loch make it totally unsuited for any sort of minor casting event let alone a major one.

Mr Curtis and his associates seem to be obsessed in majoring Antermony as some sort of casting centre and although angling has many facets, the competitive casting side of it is the least popular.

Locally it would attract no more than a handful of people such is its limited appeal.

If Antermony were to change hands then in order to make a return on the capital outlay the new owners would have to run the operation on a strictly commercial basis. There is a very real danger it would be turned into a commercial rainbow trout fishery and this alone is a very good reason for the operation to remain in the very safe and capable hands of the Caurnie Angling Club.

The central belt of Scotland is currently over-saturated with ‘put and take’ fisheries.

Although Antermony Loch is run as a private angling club it is by no means exclusive as some are wrongly asserting and issues day permits to non-members at a more than fair ticket price.

Making such a brown trout angling resource available to the general public, on these terms, results in community access that is very rare and the Caurnie Angling Club should be applauded for this.

Antermony has always been run primarily as brown trout water – something that is now almost non-existent in the central belt.

The club is offering something that is becoming unique, it is something to be treasured, something to be extremely proud of and accordingly well worth fighting to retain. I am solidly of the opinion that the best interests of Antermony Loch and its environs rest with the outstanding stewardship of the Caurnie Angling Club – it simply could not be bettered.

Jim Boyd,

Kelvin Drive,

Kirkintilloch.

Public inquiry might help

IT is good to see more people getting involved with Antermony Loch’s proposed disposal. And it is good that letters from both sides appear as this will bring the true facts out.

The facts remain there are few boats and with two people to a boat it doesn’t cover many people even if the boats were on the loch each day – which I have never seen happen.

As for the committee’s letter suggesting I am firing someone else’s bullets, this is not the case. I have little interest in the Caurnie Angling Club committee and I have little interest in Mr Curtis.

My main concern is that an asset belonging to the people of East Dunbartonshire is developed and used to its best and widest application for the good of all that live within ED and visitors to the loch and its adjacent outdoor centre.

Lorries go up and down the road day by day. I have never seen anyone doing any repairs with the exception of Mr Curtis himself and I think even he has given up now.

Lorries reaching the bottom of the road have to negotiate the main traffic artery road between Milton of Campsie and Kilsyth Road.

This junction is highly dangerous being near to a blind corner and it is only a question of time before a serious accident. I cannot understand why the traffic department allow such a dangerous situation to exist.

The access road has become almost impassable to ordinary vehicles through complete neglect. There is a cattle grid on the access road which has been crushed and has remained that way for many months.

Getting back to the loch issue I have seen a petition in favour of Campsie Outdoor Centre with over 3,000 signatures in support.

I think maybe a public inquiry would best fit the bill as it would find out everything that is going on, what monies are coming into the area and where they are going as I know for sure nothing is being spent on that road.

At the last meeting at Tom Johnston House, I was there representing Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce. However, the council decided not to debate the issue in public so there was no opportunity for views to be given.

Harry McLaughlin.

Allotment concerns

THE proposal to allocate the allotments in Merkland Drive to local residents appears to be another type of postcode lottery.

If the same postive discrimination were applied to future releases of allotments elsewhere, some long-term applicants might never be offered one because of their place of residence.

It is unlikely that the funding of this project was solely derived from the residents of the Merkland ward.

Therefore, it would be fairer and more democratic to offer them to all eligible East Dunbartonshire applicants, based upon length of time on the council’s allotment list.

This proposal sets an unwelcome precedent and should be opposed.

Name and address supplied

Crackdown is working

FROM the standpoint of someone who shops twice weekly at Strathkelvin Retail Park it looks as if the crackdown on inappropriate car parking at the Retail Park has worked.

Before the crackdown finding a parking space could be difficult. Now it’s not a problem.

Campbell McInroy,

Burnside Avenue,

Kirkintilloch.

Support for councillor

I READ with interest in recent editions of the Kirkintilloch Herald letters from fellow councillors effectively criticising Councillor Billy Hendry for the stance he has taken in his opposition to the initial plans that Morrisons have for Bishopbriggs.

It seems that Councillor Hendry is being criticised for putting his constituents first, but I would contend that is precisely what Councillor Hendry’s constituents would expect him to do.

Following changes to planning legislation some years ago, we now have the bizarre situation that once a planning application has been registered councillors are not allowed to comment on the merits or otherwise of a particular application.

Were they to do so, they would then be effectively debarred from voting on the issue at the Planning Board.

This to me is wrong and the legislation needs to be urgently revised, but until it is revised councillors are left with the dilemma either to stand four-square behind their constituents or simply turn up at the Planning Board and having considered the application vote according to its merits or otherwise.

As has been shown by the defence of the greenbelt in and around Milton of Campsie, Lennoxtown and Torrance (and I pay tribute to Councillor Hendry for his stalwart support for the greenbelt), it is essential that councillors get behind their constituents and voice their opinions, even if that means they are debarred from voting at the Planning Board.

I would respectfully suggest to my SNP colleagues that they should reflect on the stance taken by Councillor Hendry, which is an honourable stand, and perhaps emulate his total commitment to his constituents, a commitment which has given him sizeable majorities in many elections in the past.

The people of East Dunbartonshire have a right to expect their councillors to stand up for their interests, even if that means defying silly conventions which have been imposed on local authorities by Edinburgh.

More power to Councillor Hendry’s arm for his defence of his constituents interests and I commend his stand to his constituents as the only one worthy of a councillor whose first and primary duty is to represent the views and the interests of his or her constituents.

Councillor Charles Kennedy

Stobhill chemo campaign

NOT for the first time has the Stobhill Campaign been misled by the Scottish National Party (MSP is urged to think again - Letters to the Editor, Herald February 1).

Who remembers the false promise to build a new small general hospital at Stobhill?

Now Tom Herbert and Councillor Charles Kennedy are “astonished and angered” that Fiona McLeod is not backing their campaign for chemotherapy services to be delivered at Stobhill and took seven months after meeting them to make her decision.

What makes the SNP position even more laughable is that the SNP group on East Dunbartonshire Council is backing the campaign and included amongst their eight councillors is Gillian Renwick, who works for , you’ve guessed it, Fiona McLeod. Do they not talk to each other?

No doubt our new MSP took some advice from the Health Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and was “persuaded” not to pursue this issue.

Fiona McLeod claimed to have researched the problem and come to the conclusion there would not be enough demand.

She fails to understand, or has ignored the fact, that people living in the east end of Glasgow, which includes some of the most deprived areas in the country with above average cancer rates, would also be able to use chemotherapy services if they were situated at Stobhill.

Scottish Labour MSP Paul Martin, who represents Glasgow Provan is pursuing this matter.

What a pity Mr Herbert, Councillor Kennedy and their colleagues in the Stobhill campaign did not give their backing to our former Labour MSP, David Whitton, who had been campaigning for over two years to have chemotherapy services installed at Stobhill and had even suggested to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde where they could be situated.

In the meantime, I hope the people of East Dunbartonshire remember when the council elections are held in May that an SNP promise is worthless.

Manjinder Shergill,

Former constituency office

manager for David Whitton.

Thanks for the memory

CAN I just say a great big “thank-you” for printing the old photo of the McLay’s television staff in January 1970 (Herald, Feruary 8).

My brother Jim (now 61), who is on the left of the photo at the tender age of 19, was absolutely delighted.

When the TV workshop closed, Jim had become workshop foreman and went on, eventually, to join the University of Strathclyde as an electronics engineer until he retired last year after 30-odd years there. Please do not hesitate to pass on any information to me from anyone in the photo who might contact you and wish to get in touch.

Christine Barrie

(via e-mail)

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