Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Shall we be spending millions on a terminal with no ferry?

I’M reminded of a very famous first line of a cooking recipe when I consider the latest saga surrounding the repairs to Weymouth ferry port’s stricken harbour wall.

There were numerous warnings about not spending almost all the harbour revenue on other things - warnings which were ignored.

Then all hell broke loose when the harbour wall began to crack into the sea after which there was great anguish as Condor steamed off to Poole and councillors checked their piggy banks to stump up the money for repairs and a wider scheme of upgrading the ferry area.

Worse followed when the overall cost was found to have risen sharply to nearly £4 million, but “stay calm” statements continued to highlight ongoing “favourable” discussions with Condor about their return in spring 2013 once repairs are completed.

Well, I’m sorry, but I didn’t buy Town Bridge when some conman tried to sell it and I’m not buying Condor returning in six months time, not yet anyway.

The problem that the authorities don’t want highlighted is that the whole situation puts Condor in an absolutely impregnable position.

Poole isn’t stupid and definitely won’t be telling Condor how nice it is to have them if only for a few months. Far from it. They’ll be moving heaven and Earth to try and entice the ferry company to stay there.

Condor have made all the right noises about wanting to come back to Weymouth, but wanting to and the sight of a ferry actually mooring up again near the Pavilion are a world apart.

The bottom line is that Condor is not going to resume operations in Weymouth unless the ferry terminal is fully updated and the quay wall properly repaired so it doesn’t look like a Swiss cheese.

Fail to do that and Condor will stay in Poole. Achieve the upgrade and there’s still no guarantee that they won’t stay in Poole anyway if the inducements are right. The next six months are critical.

All of which brings me back to this famous quote for a recipe from the 19th century for jugging hare which began: “First catch your hare...”

Weymouth needs to make sure that they’re really certain Condor is coming back here before millions are spend on an upgraded ferry terminal which doesn’t have a ferry... otherwise we’re cooked.

Get rid of the bricks and the water splash

MOST of my clothes are now dry but, on behalf of several other half-drowned pedestrians, I’d like to draw authorities’ attention to a teensy weensy flaw in their transport master plan for Weymouth.

Naturally there was an influx of visitors for the Olympics and Paralympics, we are told that there will be a sharp rise in “legacy” visitors from that in future years and, of course, we can expect our usual holidaymakers for 2013 assuming they’ve forgiven us for all the disruption they’ve had to endure.

So it was perhaps almost inevitable that transport bosses keen to cope with this potential influx have created a new problem in their efforts to solve the old problem of busy traffic meeting pedestrians when turning from Lower St Alban Street into St Thomas Street.

Their solution to make drivers slow down at the entrance to the turn is a line of bricks sunk across the road as a cheap traffic calming measure, but there is an old saying that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

The monkey in question here has been created by vehicles compressing the road surface where it meets the bricks to create a depression.

It’s practically invisible to the naked eye... until it rains and fills with water to create a nice water splash for drivers to go through and soak passing pedestrians.

It happened to me, I saw it happen to several other people and none of us is happy.

Sort it out quickly or my next pair of soaked trousers will be dry cleaned and the bill sent to those responsible for the bricks.

Toast, but hold the butter

MODERN supermarkets often come with a cafe now, but they offer something less than value for money.

One Weymouth supermarket charges 10 pence for a tiny pat of butter to go with a round of toast and it is no more and no less than unwelcome penny pinching.

You wouldn’t think ten pence would make that much profit, but when I checked it out I found that a standard 250g packet of Anchor butter in the same supermarket cost £1.40.

The tiny pat for toast was also Anchor and weighed 6g so to consume the equivalent weight that way – 250g – would cost the shopper £4.16p making the tiny pat of butter nearly three times more expensive than a standard packet.

People act surprised at how much profit supermarkets make. With little wrinkles like charging triple price for butter to go with toast going on then it’s no wonder supermarkets are doing very nicely thank-you.

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