Once again Mr Miller has used the springboard of a national newspaper to ‘reluctantly’ comment on the ongoing debate regarding Flamingo Land. Interesting, that a reluctant individual, has now made his third statement to a newspaper. This hardly seems like reluctance on Mr Miller’s part.
As the whole debate surrounding Flamingo Land has been relatively quiet in recent months, I question the validity of Mr Miller’s criticism of the vitriol around those that oppose the development.
Let me explain. Nobody would disagree that all debate should be informed, respectful and impersonal.
The problem here, is that the flow of information from Flamingo Land, LL&TNP, WDC and Scottish Enterprise has been close to zero. There is no meaningful debate, instead protesters are left with empty rhetoric from Ian Miller, his son Andy, LL&TNP, WDC and all other agencies who see this proposal as worthwhile and beneficial for Balloch.
Through this the lack of information there is frustration, no meaningful debate and a large group of people left virtually voiceless. What could be construed as vitriol manifests itself when presented with with such barriers.
In the article, Mr Miller states that the plans for Flamingo Land ‘would bring positive change to the area.’ In these uncertain times, could I question Mr Miller’s certainty that this proposal ‘would’ bring positive change to Balloch’?
Perhaps we could all have a look into his crystal ball at some time in the future?
Mr Miller, in the newspaper article, goes on to say that some of this vitriol has been directed at him.
Mr Miller goes on to talk about his son Andy’s involvement with Flamingo Land. Interesting choice of language from Mr Miller here. Unless Andy is involved in a voluntary basis, I presume he is on the payroll of Flamingo Land, therefore is driven by delivering a favourable outcome to current Flamingo Land Shareholders. This is hardly just an involvement! In turn ,I fear this family involvement could cloud Mr Miller’s thinking, with objectivity being thrown out the window by himself. Mr Miller is entering a debate with more of a personal connection than any of the objectors or supporters out there. Somehow that does not feel quite right. If Mr Miller objected to the principles of bringing Flamingo Land to Balloch, while his son was employed by the company, would he be so quick to put himself to the forefront of protesters, I think not.
From speaking to hundreds of people, Mr Miller has concluded that people are just waiting to see what happens. Really, it may be too late by then. People are stating this because they have no idea what the proposal entails, and with planning permission laws and the short time for objections to be submitted, it could see the proposal being pushed through with little or no debate.
I have stated previously I admire Mr Miller’s ongoing support for B&HCC and his many friends who sit on the council. I have also written on many occasions the lack of public dialogue from the Community Council. Many people now view them as a closed organisation, unwilling to engage with the Balloch residents and with an agenda to support and push the Flamingo Land proposal through without any proper debate from all interested parties. Can I remind readers that B&HCC openly supported the Flamingo Land proposal before the public were given details.
Finally, the land that Flamingo Land would like to develop is used by literally thousands of families having a day out, picnicking and playing games. It is used by dogs walkers, cyclists and people out for a pleasant walk. If this area is developed, we will see the disappearance of a low cost option for a day out taken away from thousands of families. This development is solely about profit for one company, with a very small board, made up of family members. The original plans that were submitted included plans for a link bridge to Balloch Park and a riverside board walk. These two plans have now been dropped. Why? Is it because a bridge may take people away from the Flamingo Land site and the boardwalk could lead people into Balloch village, taking people away from the primary site and spending their money elsewhere.
Gerry Edwardson, Balloch