Wednesday, 30 April 2014

What can improve town’s economy?

EASTER prompted seafront businesses in Weymouth to say they were celebrating one of the best starts to a season they could remember.

Among things to do particularly well were inflatable killer whales, beach mats, drinks, food and, of course, buckets and spades.

So it is interesting that the council is looking beyond this traditional holiday income image of Weymouth and trying to diversify the town centre’s economy away from a critically important reliance on visitors to a future where all the eggs in its basket are not dominated by tourism.

This shows commendable foresight for trying to make the good ship Weymouth able to weather future economic storms, but I still feel tourism must be central to strategy for this and many future decades. It is, after all, what has made the town’s reputation.

The question is, if not tourism then what can Weymouth do to improve its economy?
Some of the answers have to lie with improved infrastructure. As one councillor said recently in committee, if global warming is going to create sea level rises then Weymouth must “think outside the box” because if the town centre does flood “then we can’t have car parking. We’ll have to have boat parking!”

There is also the question of fluctuating fortunes. Tourism tastes can change and Weymouth’s drawing power might not be so great in the future, not least if it can’t nail down some sort of enforceable agreement with ferry company Condor.

Whatever the future holds for the town’s economy then at least some thought is being devoted to it now rather than the authorities adopting an ostritch-like stance with their heads firmly sunk in Weymouth Sands.

‘Parasites’ strike again in shops

NEWS of my recent Parasite of the Week award to a woman who stole a handbag from a Weymouth charity shop seems to have generated a few bids for Best Supporting Parasite.

In hot contention for that dubious honour must be a group of teenagers who knew a criminal opportunity when they saw one.

They strolled into a seafront café and walked out again having only paid £0.25 for a lolly instead of £1.25.

And how did they manage to achieve that feat?

Well the counter displayed a small bowl containing, among other things, £1 in staff tips… not any more.

Said staff only discovered the theft after their opportunist visitors were long gone, but it still left a nasty taste in their mouths and probably in the mouths of anyone reading this who still has a spark of decency left in them.

We may well be a dying breed if the handbag and the staff tip incidents are anything to go by.

The great poop debate

A GREAT steaming heap of horse manure provoked a flare-up recently in the argument over people cleaning up after their animals.

The pile lay there in a residential street right on the driving line between parked vehicles which prompted one pedestrian to talk about gardeners popping out to shovel it up for their roses!

But his conversation quite rightly turned to how, if a dog owner had allowed their animal to poop in the road and then walked off without cleaning it up, there would be uproar and a possible prosecution.

The fact that a horse evacuates about 20 times as much as a dog seems to make the sense of cleaning it up obvious, but there are counter arguments.

Firstly there are countless more dogs using the streets as a toilet than there are horses so there are rightly controls for dogs, secondly dog faeces are a greater danger to health than horse droppings and thirdly the street in question was fairly close to open fields and it could be argued that horses and the baggage that goes with them are a rural pursuit which people who live in rural or semi-rural areas should be relaxed about.

Still, it wouldn’t hurt for horsemen to carry a bag and a small hand shovel since horse manure is often sold.

I can think of at least two places that do that within a mile of my home. Not sure what the going rate is for a large bag of horse manure. I think it’s a pony!

Mind the tourists

ALL residents need to practice their walking in the road skills now that the tourism season is cranking itself into gear.

Only the other day a woman I know who lives in Weymouth was walking along a pavement carrying shopping when she was initially forced to stop and then go out into the road and round a group of  tourists decked out in beach mats, cameras and wind breaks who insisted on blocking the pavement.

There were eight or nine of them in two raucous family groups, children doing pretty much what they liked and the adults rubbernecking what they could see without paying attention to what was happening right in front of them.

To give credit to the woman, she took it in her stride in the manner of someone who has seen it all before, but it merely underlines what I have felt for many years that, regardless of whether it is Weymouth or Ayia Napa, people on beach holidays often seem to leave their manners and their brain cells at home.

Still, only 17 weeks to go and it will all be over.

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