BOB CURTIS: I sensed a wave of discontent
IT'S sad how some good ideas turn out to be, what's a decent description… talking shops? One example is the Brixham Harbour Liaison Forum. Set up by the authority, guidance was sought from commercial and leisure harbour-users and it seemed like a good way for Torbay Council to plan the future of the three harbours, with Torquay, Paignton and Brixham residents having their own forums.
However, after attending the latest Brixham forum at the harbour master's office on September 5, I sensed a wave of discontent coming from people sitting around the table… mature people who have 'worked' the harbour most of their' lives.
Take the proposed 'frequent' ferry service Torbay Council wish to introduce next year.
Members of the forum tried to point out their understandable concerns regarding passenger numbers during the winter months.
Who's going to want to drive to a quayside car park, catch a ferry and then a bus, to go to work, either in Torquay or Brixham?
Plus, it was felt, the proposed new pontoon arrangement, especially the Brixham one, could cause more congestion in the harbour entrance, wasting valuable berthing space on the Dump End!
The forum had pointed this out at a previous meeting but the new drawings ignored their suggestions.
Does nobody listen?
Another item of frustration on the agenda was the creation of an artificial reef within Torbay harbour.
Excuse me... why?
We were told it would assist and encourage the diving business within the Bay.
Torbay is a natural harbour where, over thousands of years, nature has carved out the beaches, borders and coastline.
It has become a protective stretch of water used by amateur yachtsmen, fishermen and mariners seeking shelter from the storms.
Do we really want to pollute these treasured waters with tons of concrete or old lorry tyres, and for what, to house a few extra sea-horses and cater for a few 'underwater-johnnies'?
Like several others I came away feeling very frustrated!
MY guess is that the public respect elected members who aren't afraid to speak their mind, and not just toe the party line.
I can't say I know Torbay councillor Andrew Baldrey (pictured) very well but during the course of several political meetings, I've noticed that he's not afraid to speak out for what he believes to be right.
Last week, a leaflet was pushed through our door outlining Mr Baldrey's concerns about Brixham Council taking over our town hall, comments regarding a possible third harbour and his thoughts about the proposed fast ferry service.
Apparently, Andrew's was a lone voice in the council chamber regarding Brixham taking full financial responsibility for the Bolton Cross building.
He also warned about the additional cost to residents, even after great increases in rental charges.
Public spirited organisations such as Brixham Does Care and both theatre groups will be faced with massive increases in their annual rents.
I must admit to warming to his fears regarding a fast ferry service and what happens after subsidies disappear after the first three years.
No doubt ferry companies have worked out that crowded boats in summer will compensate for little passenger trade in winter… but some, wise to commercial ventures have grave doubts.
His thoughts regarding a Northern Arm development had my full support.
It's understood that Torbay Council is about to present a business plan but after extensive inquiries, Andrew hasn't found anyone from Brixham's commercial industry or harbour users who have been consulted. Same here!
That's like building a boat and seeking advice from a bricklayer and not a shipwright!
Keep up the struggle, Mr Baldrey!
FOR well over a year now I've been moaning about the state of the gutters and pavements on the road leading up the 'mountain'.
They're overgrown with grass, weeds and wild growth.
The road and pavements looks a complete shambles.
While I mumbled on about lack of maintenance, my wife calmly walked along the road taking photographs of the offending mess, which she then emailed to Torbay Council, together with a few 'chosen' words.
To be fair, they answered almost right away and said they'd pass on her concerns to the 'contracted company' responsible.
That was ten days ago and so far… zilch.
Well, except, feeling guilty, I've stopped moaning!