By Lucy Ashton
Jackie Baillie has expressed disappointment that Minister for Transport, Kevin Stewart, has snubbed Kilcreggan residents concerned about the proposed redevelopment of the village pier less than half an hour after publicly claiming he is “willing to meet with almost anyone”.
The Dumbarton constituency MSP had written to the former Transport Minister, who was in post at the time, on March 28th to outline the serious concerns that the residents in Kilcreggan, Cove and the surrounding areas have regarding the proposal and what they believe is a flawed consultation.
She raised a number of issues within the letter and asked for a date to be identified to meet with the Transport Minister and members of the community to discuss these points further.
Dumbarton constituency MSP Jackie Baillie and new Transport Minister Kevin Stewart.
During a session in the Scottish Parliament debating chamber, prior to First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, April 20th, Kevin Stewart told Ms Baillie’s Scottish Labour colleague Monica Lennon he was pleased to meet with “almost anyone as folk in the chamber are very well aware”.
Then, less than 30 minutes later, Ms Baillie received a response to her email seeking a meeting saying that “due to a fully committed diary, the new Minister for Transport, Kevin Stewart, is unable to meet”.
Jackie Baillie said: “This is an incredibly disappointing response from the Transport Minister under any circumstances but in light of him saying he would be willing to meet with almost anyone just half an hour before this was received is gobsmacking.
“What a slap in the face for the people of Kilcreggan and the surrounding areas who have genuine concerns about the planned redevelopment of the pier.
“It is unforgivable that he should show such contempt for the views of local communities. I would have thought that he would have been keen to resolve any issues early on in his tenure rather than face questions over ferries and their related issues further down the line. The SNP don’t have a great track record when it comes to marine transport and it appears that this is continuing under the new First Minister Humza Yousaf and his Transport Minister Kevin Stewart.
“The fact that he has snubbed the people of Kilcreggan is bad enough but he has also failed to respond to any of the concerns raised in my initial letter.
“I am seriously disappointed on behalf of the people in the area and have written to Mr Stewart’s boss Mairi McAllan, in her role as Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition to again seek a meeting.”
The Kilcreggan/Rosneath Peninsula taken from Helensburgh. Picture by Bill Heaney