And get more cruise ships to call in the Bay.
A leaflet dropped through the letter box today, one of dozens that I drop forlornly in to the recycle bin a few minutes later, unread but given a quick glance if I can be bothered. This one did catch my eye due to it’s head line, and I quote,
“Tories Pursue Third Harbour Madness!”
The leaflet is actually a brief newsletter that turns up from time to time and is edited by the local LibDem councillor Jenny Faulkener together with Amanda Darling and Swithin Long. The whole of the front page, A4 in size, is dedicated to the news that our Tory councillors have, under the watchful eye of our elected Tory mayor, Gordon Oliver, voted to go ahead with the Third Harbour project. This will provide a safe place for cruise ships to dock here in Torquay. At present, cruise ships have to anchor out in the Bay. Those passengers who want to visit, climb aboard small boats for the 10 minute trip to the safety of the Marina and then, most of them anyway, board coaches so they can go and have a look at Dartmouth, Dartmoor, Teignmouth, Totnes, Exeter and other local, for local please read South Devon, attractions. When, last week, the cruise ship Artania came for a visit I did notice two German couples in Torquay. One couple walked past me carrying Primark bags, now I can only guess they were from the ship but my reasons for this guess are, they were speaking German, they weren’t foreign language students, too old, and the cruise ship had been reported to be full of German tourists. The other couple were emerging from The Green Ginger speaking German and carrying, yes, you’ve guessed it. Poundland bags, big Poundland bags. But not big enough to cover the sixty thousand pounds that our mayor said the Torquay economy would benefit from the visit of the cruise ship. The mayor even had the Land Train abandon it’s usual route, and therefore it’s other waiting, expectant, passengers, to take our visitors to one of our very own local attractions, Cockington Village. I know someone who works in one of the coffee houses in Cockington and asked that person had they been especially busy. A flat no was the answer. This lack of spending power could have had something to do with the fact that the cruise ship operators decided not to bother changing their passengers’ Euros into Pounds. If this idea continues with the next 6 cruise ships due into the Bay then they may as well not bother coming.
I digress, back to the LibDem’s leaflet. The tone of the article suggest that the writer thinks the whole scheme is insane. Not true. I think the mayor is extremely farsighted. He is only thinking of our great, great grandchildren. He wants to make sure they have something that will attract people and therefore money into the Bay and actually make a profit. Sadly he is ignoring the fact that we, our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren will be the ones actually paying for this Third Harbour and seeing no benefit from it, just a massive debt repayment that could last 100 years.
£175 million is the cost of this Third Harbour. It will never happen, who’s going to be mug enough to lend Torbay that kind of money? Better to lend it to Greece. The thing that angers me the most is the £600 000 the mayor plans to spend on a feasibility study to see if the project is viable. Please Gordon give me a ring and I will do a sensible study, with an open mind, either way, for or against, for just £10 000 saving you a massive 590 000 quid.
PS If you do think the Third Harbour is a good idea, please let me know your reasons for think that.
PPS I don't expect Gordon Oliver will read this but if you do, I would be interested in your reaction.