We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from Colin McCourt from East Cowes. Ed
On Thursday I attended the Cowes Town Council meeting for the first time to hear Dave Stewart’s presentation on the floating bridge. What I saw was a town council valiantly trying to get some answers to the many outstanding questions, and Dave Stewart and his officers deflecting every one with the mantra “it will all be in the report which will be ready in the New Year”.
In fact, so many things are going to answered in this report that it is beginning to take on the importance similar to the tablets of stone for the ten commandments!
None the wiser
Dave’s Stewart report (and I use that term loosely) told us very little of what has been going on over the last few months when it was out of service and his main concerns appeared to be problems with some puddles forming on the top deck, and making the screens weatherproof and vandal resistant.
It even looked like someone else had written it for him as he had to ask John Metcalf what CHC meant. (Cowes Harbour Commissioner).
Deflecting attention away from issues
He also threw up an attempted smokescreen about two incidents where floating bridge staff were abused/assaulted, saying it was not their fault that the bridge wasn’t functioning correctly.
However the two incidents were nothing to do with the new bridge. In fact I have seen incidents like those he cited whilst the old floating bridge was in service.
Contempt for residents
Dave Stewart continued to show contempt for the citizens of East and West Cowes, when pressed on a number of points, by stating, “This is not a statutory requirement, this floating bridge”.
He appears to think that the current bridge will meet the needs of Isle of Wight residents despite the many failings against the requirements.
Launch still needed despite fixed road bridge
His long term goal appears to get a fixed road bridge somewhere upriver during the 20 year life of this bridge.
However he would still have costs for a launch service for foot passengers, unless he determines that he doesn’t have to provide that as well.
Delayed publication of report for Scrutiny
It then transpired, much to the surprise of the Town Council Chair, who is also the chair for scrutiny in Jan, that the report would not be delivered to Cowes and East Cowes Town Councils until 2nd Jan, despite Dave Stewart previously promising their availability by 21st Dec.
The timetable leading up to Scrutiny on 9th Jan was that the two Town Councils, having read the report, could then meet on 3rd Jan 2018 and get questions to Scrutiny. Now, instead of having 12 days to review the document, they have ONE day. The excuse used was that legal had to review everything and that it was all “very complicated”.
Ducking and diving
This is a classic tactic, used by many companies in the 80s and 90s, to pressurise the reviewers in the hope that things would be missed. Seems like our Isle of Wight Council hasn’t caught up with the ethical companies of today.
As a council tax payer I was very disappointed to see the “ducking and diving” taking place by the Isle of Wight Council members and their officers, but look forward to seeing this report in the New Year.
Image: © With kind permission of Allan Marsh