Feedback from the meeting to discuss the Ballycastle / Campbeltown ferry link at Stonefield Castle Hotel, Ayreshire, 10 April 2008.
The responses received at the consultation meeting at Stonefield Castle Hotel, indicate
1. The ferry service from Ballycastle to Campbeltown should add to the socio economic fabric of the two regions in a way that is sensitive to the unique environment of the two regions.
2. Re instigating a ferry service between Campbeltown and Ballycastle provides an excellent opportunity to build the socio economic strength of the two communities and enhance Celtic relationships across the North Channel.
3. The project needs to be sensitive to unique natural assets within both countries and to be sensitive to the environmental and socio economic needs in an area of outstanding natural beauty and natural wealth.
Angling Development, Activity Tourism, Travel
The republic of Ireland and Scotland attract many foreign visitors who do many things from angling, walking, sight seeing to simply enjoying a break. From an activity tourism point of view, my own interest is in angling development. There are many opportunities for tourism activities and travel from the far reaches of the Irish republic through Northern Ireland to the vast expanses of open space through out Scotland and visa versa by investing in angling development projects.
Holistic Infrastructure Development
The work of Ballycastle Angling Club and the Glens of Antrim Angling club which aim to increase the viability and sustainability of wild Atlantic salmon provide good examples of such projects. There are also many similar projects in Scotland. Such projects need much more support and should be part of a holistic development strategy to build a stronger socio economic infra structure. The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL) provide an excellent value for money angling facility via their fisheries which could be further enhanced as an angling development strategy to enhance a successful ferry operation.
There is symbiotic relationship between local development projects and the ferry project. Ensuring that a ferry link between Campbeltown and Ballycastle is successful would ensure a healthy spirit of co operation for community sustainability projects. On that basis funding should be forthcoming to ensure the viability of the service which will primarily meet the needs of local communities.
Sustainable Development Supporting Tourism
Therefore the real challenge is to develop the networks and infrastructure to ensure that the regions within the Northern Ireland and beyond and Scotland are developed sustainably in a way that maximises long term, sustainable socio economic gain. The balance between supporting a tourism industry and developing local socio economic economy that supports local inclusion with a love of tourists could provide a sustainable solution. The tourism angling market, for example, will only thrive to its true potential when the local infrastructure supports projects that facilitate angling opportunities for tourists without compromising quality angling for locals. I am sure you will have your own examples to add. People living in the environment and depending on the natural environment for a living (eg local inshore fishermen and local anglers) need a plan that will benefit them by benefiting tourists.
Opportunities for Community Development
Therefore in conclusion the Ferry project will be successful if plans are put in place to sustainably develop the utilization of our natural resources in harmony with local community projects. The ferry operation should be planned to support such initiatives.
Marine Protected Areas
Finally, any plan will need to consider the recently proposed UK Marine Bill which aims to develop a network of marine parks and marine protected areas within the UK to protect the ecological and biological integrity of sensitive eco systems. The area around the sea of Moyle provides a first class example of a potentially valuable Marine Protected Area.
Natural Living Assets
3 Greenridge Park