With extreme conditions continuing to disrupt ferry services, SNP council candidate for North Uist and Benbecula, Roslyn Macpherson, has called on the Comhairle to take a lead in a collaborative approach to designing ferry services.
Roslyn Macpherson said: “There will always be times when weather conditions make sailings impossible, but the key to providing a lifeline ferry service during a severe winter is maximising capacity in between these spells.
“The only practical way to achieve this is by recognising the importance of the Lochmaddy to Uig route as the shortest and most efficient connection with the mainland for the Uists.
“Like many in the community, I welcome the fact that CMAL, Calmac and the Transport Minister are all due to visit Uist in the near future, at the invitation of our MSP, to discuss some of the issues we face here in service redesign. Direct dialogue between the community and decision makers is an important aspect of shaping our future ferry services – hearing the views of service users is paramount.
“However, individuals and communities representing their particular needs is only part of a longer term solution. I believe the Comhairle has a role to play in promoting a radical rethink across all areas such as vessel design and deployment, terminal facilities and timetabling throughout the Western Isles – speaking on behalf of the whole region, but acknowledging and championing the particular needs and benefits of the key routes such as between Lochmaddy and Uig.
“In the face of rising sea levels and worsening winters, I believe the Council is uniquely well placed to examine our expectations of ferry services in the Western Isles, and push for them to be delivered.”